Gardening for kids can be such a rewarding experience. I remembered as a child having my very own garden that I designed and constructed with my very own hands it was such an exciting experience that I still remember to this day.
There were days when I would be outside turning the soil in preparation for planting my seeds. My garden consisted of okras, pepper, peas, and corn.
I would go into my garden on a daily basis to water my seedlings, then after a week or so I would notice little leaves and stems. Man, I was so proud of my seedlings, it was like walking on the clouds. The good news about kids getting involved with gardening is that it brings them closer to nature where they can have a better understanding and appreciation of how nature works.
Kids involved in gardening can learn about soil science, the different types of soil, how soil relates to plant life, and the many microbes that are found in the soil including earthworms and their responsibility. They can also learn the different parts of a plant and what important role each part plays. All of this stuff is just so cool.
I believe that the fun really starts when the vegetables, herbs, or fruit appears, depending on what type of garden you have. The joy is not only in seeing your plants grow but also watching nature do its part while your fruits, vegetables, or herbs mature, it’s all just wonderful. I believe this is a good opportunity for children to be educated about food production and its origin.
Where do we begin?
Although there are many ways in which we can begin, I believe it’s best to start by showing them the product that is in the supermarket or better yet, if we have a garden of our own we can take them out into our garden and show them what is being grown while allowing them to ask their questions.
Next, let’s start from the ground up. All healthy plant life depends on quality soils. Without soil, plants won’t grow to their fullest potential.
In our quest for knowledge, we will research the many layers of soil. To learn more about soil layers, I have included this cool video from Eden’s learning channel so watch, learn and enjoy.
Soils are not dead as some people think but are very much alive! Here’s what I mean by that. In the soil there are billions of soil microbes that are very much alive, not sleeping but hard at work making sure that our soil is fit for the job. These microbes break down what we call organic matter such as leaves that have fallen from trees to the soil surface. The bodies of dead insects and animals that are laying on the soil surface, dead roots that are in the soil, and so on. To make a long story short, anything that was once alive and is dead is known as organic matter.
So then our garden friends that live in the soil which is known as microbes break down these leaves, roots, and the bodies of dead animals and insects into a form that is beneficial to plant life.
Gardening for kids
Names of soil microbes
What amazes me about plants is that they all begin from a tiny seed and grow into such a big plant or tree producing many fruits themselves.
So how do plants really begin their journey from a tiny seed to such a huge plant?
The journey from a tiny seed to a plant is one of the awesome wonders of nature. Now that we have looked at how a seed begins to germanite in the ground as it starts its long journey to becoming a full plant, we will also be looking at parts of a plant and their functions.
Different plant parts and their functions
Just as we have different parts of our bodies that have different functions that cause our bodies to work as a whole unit, plants also have different parts that cause them to function as a whole and do their part so they can grow nice and healthy.
I cannot emphasize enough how there is a lot of cool stuff that you can learn from plants and when starting your own garden, it brings you close to nature so you can enjoy all the wonders and benefits nature has to offer.
Insects in Your Garden
A great way to attract insects is by having a garden. As you provide homes for insects, you learn all about them and at the same time watch them grow.
In case you didn’t know, insects are divided into two groups.
- There are beneficial insects and what that means is these insects help our plants by protecting them from our second group of insects.
2. The second group is known as the bad bugs.
First, we will talk about good bugs. The reason they are called good bugs is they do not destroy our gardens, they are like the police which protect our plants from being destroyed. Here are some examples of good bugs. There are so many of them so I will just name a few.
Gardening for kids
1.Ladybirds, 2. Bees, 3. Lacewings, 4. Praying mantis, 5. Soldier beetles, 6. Damsel bugs, 7. Assassin bugs, 8. Big-eyed bugs,9. Ground beetles and Parasitic wasps.
Now, remember these are just a few of the good guys that protect our plants as they move back and forth through our garden. I guess we can liken them to the security guards of our garden.
Remember we said a little earlier they are called bad bugs because they eat and destroy our beautiful gardens.
Here are some examples of the bad guys or bugs that want to harm our plants.
1.Birch leafminers, 2. Gypsum moths, 3. Scale insects, 4. Colorado potato beetle, 5. Crucifer beetles, 6. Mealybugs, 6. Aphids, 7. Whiteflies, 8. Thrips, 9. Spider mites, 10. Caterpillars
Like good bugs, these are just a few of the bad bugs. There are many more that invade our gardens seeking to do harm.
Plant disease can also be damaging to plant life, therefore gaining knowledge and insight into what causes plant disease and how to combat it is very important. Studying plant disease is vast and because this web page is for kids, we will look at just a few causes and how we can combat them.
What causes plant disease?
In order for a plant disease to arise, there must be
1. A susceptible host, meaning there must first be a host plant present. 2. Next, there must be a pathogen. A pathogen is a disease-carrying organism such as bacteria and viruses.
3. There must be a favorable condition. A favorable condition may consist of heat and moisture.
Gardening for kids
Signs of plant disease
These are some of the signs to look for to determine if your plant has a plant disease.
1. Rotted tissue- meaning leaves are wet, mushy, and brown.
2. Your plant begins to wilt.
3. Plants may give off a stinky odor.
4. A moldy coating on leaves and other plant parts.
5. Rust on plant leaves.
When planting your garden make sure that you have good garden soil. When planting either by seeds or seedlings (young plants) always plant at the right depth. So when your mom or dad take you to the plant nursery on your next trip asked your nurseryman to please give you the instructions on how to care for your plants
If you are buying seeds the instructions can be found on the package, so read very carefully. Remember following the instructions will cause your plants to grow nice and healthy.
Safety tips for the young gardener
Remember that no matter how excited you are about gardening, safety is first. From wearing the right clothing to getting sufficient water to drink. Here are some tips to consider when planting a garden.
Garden safety 101 – The rules of gardening
1. Make sure in hot weather to wear a long sleeve shirt whenever necessary. It will protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
2. The proper footwear is a must. Wearing boots or other footwear to protect your toes and ankles is a necessity.
3. Wearing eye goggles is a must to protect your eyes from dust and small rocks.
4. Protect your hands by wearing gloves that are made for gardening if possible.
5. Wear sunscreen when working in the sun.
6. Wearing a hat can help to keep your head cool.
7. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
8. Make sure that you eat before going outdoors to do gardening.
9. Always keep a first-aid kit on hand.
10. Take breaks in a cool spot when you feel tired.
11. Ask for help if you need it. Don’t try to lift things that are too heavy for you alone.
12. Always wash your hands thoroughly after gardening.
13. While out in the garden, wash all produce that you pick before eating.
14. Do not play with garden tools. They can cause serious injury.
Different Garden types
Gardening for kids
What makes gardening fun is the different types of gardens you can have. Here is a list of just a few of them.
1. Herb garden- This garden consists of basil, thyme, chives, garlic, mint, parsley, oregano, bay leaf, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Now, these are just a few, there are much more. See if you can come up with a few others.
2.Vegetable garden- This is a garden where vegetables are grown such as carrots, corn, beets, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and there is so much more. Can you name a few?
3. Then there are gardens where fruits are grown, like apples, oranges, strawberries, peach, watermelon, bananas, grapes, blueberries, and so on. Can you think of any others?
4. Flower garden- In this group, we have flowers of so many colors and sizes that are so beautiful.
5. Bromeliad Garden- This garden has lots of beautiful bromeliads. In fact, it is said that there are some 2,700 different types of bromeliads in the world, isn’t that just amazing.
We can go on but I will stop here for now.
The final word
Gardening for kids is an informative web page that can introduce and teach children the many benefits of gardening while they learn all about what nature has to offer, so encourage your kids to take this journey as they experience the wonderful wonders of nature.