Kids Gardens – They Plan the Darndest Things

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There’s a touch of cabin fever going around our house. The ground is completely frozen outside, so we’re dreaming of sunny days and springtime weather. To shake the winter doldrums this week, we took a field trip to our local garden center. It was mostly empty, but it didn’t stop our child-like imaginations from running wild. In less than an hour, we transitioned our attitudes from gray and wintry to bright and optimistic. We found something for every youthful garden fantasy. Our little trip inspired us, and we returned home chock full of fun ideas for this coming season.

Something for Everyone

kids gardens
A vining pumpkin plant is irresistible to the young and the young at heart.

As we plan our produce kids gardens this year, we want everyone’s fancies to be included. So, for starters, we collectively decided that we’ll plant a plot full of carrots for the two year old. He spotted a seed packet of carrots which he referred to as “Olaf’s noses” (after Olaf the snowman). That was our clue to his gardening interests this year. How could we resist? We know he’ll love planting those tiny seeds and eating Olaf’s noses.

The eight year old loves, loves, loves, pumpkins, so they are on our list. And any gardener knows, pumpkins are just fun. They trail and vine, and are available in many shapes and sizes. We selected a particularly silly variety of pumpkin this year. It has reddish skin and warts all over it. The eight year old is delighted and can hardly wait!

The ten year old is sweet on strawberries. Our friends have a large patch that produces endlessly, so the kids go out and graze for hours on the tasty little berries. We’re going for that this year in our own yard. We’ve had luck so far in previous years with an alpine variety that produces tiny fruits. This year we’re going for the big score with plants we siphoned off from those successful strawberry friends of ours.

Just for Fun

kids garden
An elaborate fairy garden provides a feast for a kid’s imagination.

After we’ve nailed down the produce we hope to enjoy by the end of the growing season, we take time for fun, too. The two year old loves flowers. Mostly to destroy of course, but maybe this year I’ll salvage a few and make a “bouquet” of my toddlers favorite flowers of the day.

My eight year old started a fairy garden a couple of years ago, and we’re still adding to its enchantment. Fairies can never have enough hiding spots, you know. And the more dainty foliage, the better. So the fairy garden is a constant work in progress.

kids gardens
This pink foliage is perfectly fitting for fairies.

As a compliment to the fairy garden, my 10 year old is intrigued with the more homely, extraterrestrial looking plants that belong in land of Hobbit gardens. While the Hobbit garden will be a little more difficult to pull off in our climate, we think we can keep it going in a container. Where there’s 10 year old will, there’s a way. That’s what’s great about involving kids in gardening.

kids garden
This was an inspiring subject for a Hobbit garden. These little succulents look like ogre’s toes.

The Take Home

kids garden
These inexpensive garden accessories provide a creative shelter for ladybugs. Or trolls.

We’re all excited to enjoy the upcoming experience of gardening. From the planning to the planting and the weeding to the eating, everybody has ownership in our garden. And that’s good for all of us. It’s a miracle to observe and to participate in, and most kids love it! It’s a great way to teach how to take care for the Earth and for themselves.

A simple field trip to plan our garden cured our cabin fever. And come harvest time, I can look forward to one less battle over eating healthy since it’s easier to get my kiddos to eat veggies that they’ve grown themselves. Not only that, but gardening connects us with something bigger than ourselves. At the same time, it gives us the responsibility to contribute to that larger whole. Gardening is a grand endeavor, especially when kids are involved, Really, kids plan the darndest gardens.

Photo of author

About Amy

Amy spent her early years roaming a neighbor's corn field, much to her parents' distress, and eating tomatoes like apples in her Midwest grandmother's garden. She learned to snap green beans like a machine by the tender age of four. Later, as a Colorado gal, she battled the elements and finally had success growing a celebratory rhubarb plant in a high altitude garden setting. At that point, there was no turning back. She gave in to her green thumb and, in order of priority, is currently growing vegetables, flowers, kids, and pets on the high plains south of Denver.

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