top of page

Gardening with Kids

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

As a landscape designer and avid gardener, giving up control in my own garden can be challenging to say the least. I cringe every time I see my husband walking with a pair of pruners in his hand, so when it comes to sharing my garden space with a child it is an opportunity for growth to say the least. A few years ago, I got tired of trying to figure out how to fit my son’s orange marigolds in with my existing color scheme and wanted to give him something of his own that he could be proud of. Giving him his own space became wildly successful and a solution for both of us.

Kids and gardening go hand in hand. Most kids are naturals when it comes to gardening and getting their hands dirty. Put a trowel in any child’s hand, and they can’t resist the urge to dig and discover. We had to institute a “no more holes” policy in our own back yard because of this very point! Letting kids get involved with gardening is a greatly rewarding experience for kids, and can be for their parents as well. It brings a confidence and sense of wonder that is contagious. The lessons it teaches them about plants, soil, responsibility and life in general are endless. Not only that, but kids who grow up gardening become some of the best advocates of the environment around. So here are some steps to help you along your own gardening journey and create your own environmentalists.

1. Plan your space.

Take a look around to see what area you’d like to transform. Giving your child space for their own garden is one of the keys to success. Providing kids with their own space gives them ownership, responsibility and most importantly pride. Not only that, but you don’t have to worry about color clashes, power struggles and where to put that rock collection! Remember, that this space doesn’t have to be a new area, it could simply be an unused area in an already existing bed. Keep it reasonably sized so gardening doesn’t get to be an overwhelming task. We have a 2’ by 5’ section, which is just big enough to add some variety but doesn’t take too long to plant or weed. If you don’t have a yard, you can always garden in containers. An empty jug or bottle is all you need. Planning a designated space will help you to determine what plants to acquire and what you will need to get started. Remember that you’re lighting, water and space requirements will determine what you are able to grow.

2. Complete the necessary soil preparations.

This includes getting rid of any existing weeds or debris. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a garden area already prepared, you’ll need to weed the entire area and possibly turn over or till the existing soil (if the soil is compacted or lacking in organic matter). If tilling is required, you will then need to remove rocks and debris and add any soil amendments necessary. Starting with a good foundation is essential for every garden to thrive, so don’t be shy when incorporating amendments such as compost. For me, it is sometimes easy to forget including my son throughout this process, but completing this step with a child of any age is great fun! It also brings an appreciation and respect for everything that goes into gardens of all sizes. Digging in the dirt is pretty self-explanatory, so set them free. Make a few mud pies, wrangle some earth worms and dig for some dinosaur bones while you’re at it. Don’t forget to get dirty!