Gardening may seem like a hobby for the older generations, but it’s actually one of the best ways to encourage kids to enjoy the great outdoors and learn responsibility this summer.
Mary Jane Frogge, extension associate for Lancaster County, offers a few tips for gardening with kids of all ages:
For Younger Kids:
Let them help pick out seed packets and then share with them the information on the back, such as how long the seed takes to germinate, how deep it should be planted and when the harvest will be ready.
She said beans are a good plant to start out with for younger kids.
For Older Kids:
“Just getting outside and away from the TV and the devices is important for older kids,” Mary Jane said. “Spending time outside is important, too.”
A garden teaches older kids responsibility. Once the seeds are planted, the work is just beginning. Watering, weed pulling and other care is needed throughout the summer for a successful harvest.
She also encourages older kids to keep a garden journal where they can track details such as planting dates, rain or watering times, insects found and eventually how much produce each plant yielded.
Mary Jane said visiting a local farmer’s market or other gardens may help spur an interest in gardening for kids. She also suggests a visit to the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln, where a variety of flowers grow throughout the growing season, or to the Backyard Farmer garden (http://go.unl.edu/byfgarden ) on East Campus as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Plant a Pizza Family Project:
A pizza garden can be a fun project for kids of all ages. Plant the seeds or starter plants inside a circle (in a large pot or in the ground). Divide the circle into slices like a pizza to organize the planting.
Some of the seeds or plants to grow for a pizza garden may include: parsley, basil, onions, peppers and tomatoes. At the end of the season, enjoy making a pizza together from the herbs and vegetables in your garden.
More details about planting a pizza garden can be found on the UNL Extension website.
Here are some other resources for gardening with kids: