These spring gardening with kids tips will help you to get your little ones outside, in the garden, for years to come.
This year I wanted to put more effort into gardening with the kids. We have the space, we already eat the types of foods that grow well in summer in our area, and we had the willingness. The kids love to help out so we made a plan.
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood
Spring Gardening With Toddlers & Preschoolers
If you can make it easy for yourself, you’ll love this time with your kids out in nature.
Planning is one of the most important parts of gardening.
Especially if you’re a newer gardener and aren’t sure when to plant what. Or where to plant what. Or how to plant what. Or about anything other than seed-in-ground-and-water.
But first, my grandmother’s advice. My grandmother grew up on a farm, picked cotton by hand for years, then married my grandfather and was a farmer’s wife for 50+ years. To say she knows a thing or two about gardening, planting, harvesting, and farming is an understatement. In her words…
“If it’s difficult to grow and cheap at the store… don’t waste your time.”
So that was the advice we took. Not attempting to plant anything too finicky or that required too much gentle love and affection. I’ve got 4 kids, one on the way, a rabbit, and no time to sing poetry to a plant, you know?
Previously, Miracle-Gro had sent a packet of their new Gro-ables so we knew we wanted to use those. I couldn’t have chosen the seed pods better had I packed it myself. To recap how you use these Gro-ables:
- You peel the label
- Loosen the potting mix where you want to plant the seed
- Take the seed pod and place it into the potting mix until the top is level with the dirt
- Water it thoroughly
- Continue watering daily until it sprouts then fruits
The basics of planning a garden
I’m not going into great detail here, but here are the basics of spring planting with your kids.
Decide what you want to plant
I cook with a lot of tomatoes and peppers, so those were no brainers. The kids like cucumber and tomato salads, so we threw in tomatoes. Zucchinis and squash are cooked in my roasted veggies, and we use herbs on most things.
So, those were what we decided to focus on this year. Oh, and watermelons. Because it gets hot in Florida and who doesn’t love a watermelon? The kids loved getting involved in the whole process.
Decide where you’ll plant it
The most fertile area of our yard is actually a ways away from the house. This means we wanted to plant the veggies and fruit there, but not the herbs. I decided most herbs can go near the house so I can walk outside quickly to get a handful of parsley.
It’s also important to determine if you want everything in containers, raised beds, straight in the ground, or a combination. We used containers for the tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. We planted cucumbers, carrots, watermelons, squash, spinach, and zucchini in the ground.
Determine if you need to create “mounds”
According to my grandmother, mother, and Google, certain veggies grow better when you plant them in hills. This is for veggies that vine as they grow, or sprawl out. We planted the zucchini, squash, cucumber, and watermelon in hills. I don’t believe you “have” to, but that’s how we did it.
Get into a routine
I will admit that I’m a Type A woman and tend to bite off more than I can chew. My mother was as exited about the garden as I was so she has been a huge help.
We monitor the garden throughout the day if we’re on walks or taking stock, and mom takes the kids with her in the evenings to make sure all the plants are properly watered. It’s a special time for the kids (because they love “watering”) and I know it’ll be even more fun when we are eating the fruit of our labors.
When you plant multiple seeds or pots it’s important to label well. Some plants require more water, different fertilizer, or various types of pest control. You don’t need anything fancy, but something that won’t fade with the sun or wash away in the rain.