Teach A Kid To Grow – Simple Container Gardening with Kids

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My boys love to eat.  I think it’s a natural trait of the younger male of our species…they would eat continuously if not threatened at every pull of the fridge door.  Sure they love their snacks, their processed foods and bags of chips, but my boys will choose fruits and some veggies over prepackaged foods any day!  On any given day my youngest will choose berries and cucumbers, and my oldest berries and string beans, they like them raw and uncut.  Yes, I do consider myself lucky. The funny thing about the world is that a bag of chips is less expensive than a cucumber at the supermarket.  I truly believe this simple fact is part of what is wrong with today’s world.  It’s cheaper to eat foods that are not good for us.  Soda is less expensive then milk, fresh fruits and vegetables are less expensive then boxed foods or even some take out foods.  And when it comes to living with less money (as most of us do…or try to do) the grocery bill is the biggest bill we can play around with. Now, since Ben will eat about $4 worth of raw green beans in a sitting, and William an entire cucumber for a snack (around $1.50) Their diets (although healthy) are also pricy.  But they love these foods, and I do my best to make sure that they are in our home for them to have.

Teach A Kid To Grow A Garden …and they’ll always have food to eat.  As they themselves grow into adults they’ll appreciate the work involved in the production of our foods, because they will know exactly what it takes to make their garden grow!   It’s simple really.  If we grow our own food at home, trade with neighbours growing other things, share a community garden and support our local farmers, we will always know where our food is coming from!

Now, I’m not talking about turning our entire back yard into a garden that will sustain our family and beyond…I tried that once.  Just ask my inlaws how that turned out… Hint…It didn’t.  But it was an interesting morning when a farmer friend showed up with a huge tracker to dig up their back yard.  (Yeah…sorry about that).

Start Small Give each child two or three choices of plants to grow.  Depending on how many kids you have.  If you have a family of 6 kids, maybe you only need to let them pick one… they can share their harvest with each other. Ben and William will each be allowed to pick two fruits or vegetables to grow.  Without even asking them I can guess cucumbers and green beans will be at the top of  their lists.  As for their second choices….I really have no clue.  I’ll let you know what they pick in a later post.  I will also be growing two crops as well.   Maybe a lettuce of some sort, and I’m leaning towards strawberries…but I have no idea how to grow them (and we live in strawberry country…we could pick them locally quite inexpensively).

Set A Budget My kids will each be given $25 to grow their garden. I will have the same $25 budget to grow my crops with as well.  I do have some seeds here from previous years I’ve attempted (and failed) that we can use without depleting our budget, but I honestly don’t know what I have (or what they’ll want to plant).  Aside from seeds (or seedlings) we will need a few basic supplies.

  • Good potting soil
  • Something to plant in
  • Fertilizer

Good potting soil doesn’t come cheap, but as we are limiting what we grow to a total of 6 crops this won’t be a huge expense.  I’ll watch for it to go on sale in the spring, and pick it up then.

Plant Pots

Something to plant in our crops will not be going directly into the ground.  Our house has mature flower gardens and I don’t want to disturb them.  So we will be container gardening.   This is where my kids imaginations will come in handy (and my handy hubby as well) Though we could purchase pots to plant in that would dwindle down our budget pretty quickly (even at the dollar stores) so if we need more pots than I can find around the house we may be forced to use our own creativity.  And I don’t think there is a thing wrong with that!)

Fertilizer is something I will have to research.  I know that plants need nutrients to grow…and I’ve heard things like egg shells, the left overs from tea bags and coffee grinds are great at providing some of those nutrients.  I would like to keep things as chemical free as possible, so it will take some time to figure out just what I should use to feed our plants.

. There is so much that our kids can learn from planting their own food.  And If you are interested in planting a small container garden along with us this summer, please do share your pictures and methods with us, either in the comment sections of our posts, or on Facebook and/or twitter. Use the hashtag #TeachAKidToGrow as I’ll be following along with your updates!

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Comments

  1. Great post! My parents have always kept a garden and I grew up loving fresh veggies and seeing the flowers.. I think it’s very much something that should be taught

  2. Julie F says:

    My Grandsons are so excited to be growing lettuce that they have vowed that they will eat it once it is ready, normally they will not touch it!

  3. Love this! I have started 2 containers of veggies in our backyard with my 4 year old son. He is so excited to see the cucumbers, carrots and radishes grow!

  4. Darlene Schuller says:

    this is such a nifty idea!! We live in an apartment this would be perfect for us. Thank you.

  5. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I really enjoy gardening and at one time had a big field that I converted where I grew vegetables. My children loved to eat peas and tomatoes straight off the plants. I did object though when one son (only 4 at the time) pulled up tiny carrots with a neighbour hood friend! Oh well, thinning had to be done anyway :-)

  6. My children love planting our veggie garden. This year we added some raspberry bushes too and actually got some fruit the first year! We have 11 bunnies so our soil is pretty good with all the fertilizer :)

  7. DARLENE W says:

    What a great project to do with the grandkids

  8. Judy Cowan says:

    Great idea! Great learning experience to plant seeds and watch them grow.

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  1. […] your child’s crop choices when container gardening. A Busy Mommy explains that kids may be tempted to overplant their pot without some […]

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