Summer Gardening with Kids: A Big, Green Thumbs Up

Summer is here, and that means lots of time at home with little kids with lots of time on their hands and energy to burn.

Time to start getting outdoors and digging in the dirt! Think about creating a kids’ vegetable garden. It’s easy, and the kids will get great satisfaction out of growing their own vegetables and then seeing them on their dinner table. It might even motivate them to want to eat more veggies, or even start cooking. 

Start with seeds

Seeds are a good way to start a garden, because kids have fun planting them, watching the sprouts come up, and then eventually, harvesting what they planted. This helps develop their sense of responsibility, and because most vegetables germinate and grow pretty quickly, they can enjoy the results of their labor in a relatively short period of time. The quicker they can see something happening, the more they will stay engaged with the process. Before you choose your seeds, don’t forget to consider your weather and your zone to ensure you have the right plants to grow from seed. 

Fun seeds for kids 

  • Pumpkins are always a hit, and they last well into the fall, so they can use their own pumpkins at Halloween. 
  • Leggy pole beans are fascinating for kids because they grow to such heights. 
  • Sweet cherry or grape tomatoes can become snacks right off the vine. 
  • Baby carrots are a kid favorite and can be eaten on the spot, after a quick rinse. 
  • Peas can be grown in the yard or in pots, and kids love shelling peas from their pods. 
  • Strawberries and raspberries, because they are so much sweeter than store-bought, and kids can peek under the leaves to find the berries. 

Fun vegetable hybrids

  • Multi-colored carrots
  • Orange cauliflower
  • Purple potatoes

Fun and weird plants

  • Eggplant
  • Gourds, that can be decorated or turned into maracas
  • Again, pumpkins!
  • Squash 

Tips for a kid-friendly garden design

If you don’t have very much space, it doesn’t matter. On a piece of land as small as six square feet, you can great a colorful, kid-sized garden filled with fruits and veggies that will grow quickly. 

  • Prepare your soil. Use a spading fork or shovel to dig and loosen the soil and break up large chunks of dirt. Mix in fresh garden soil, and some compost or fertilizer.  
  • When you’re planting your seeds, or transplanting your starter plants, space them out. Kids might need a bit of extra space to keep from trampling on plants. 
  • Ensure your spot gets plenty of sunlight and be sure to water it regularly. 
  • Take a day and decorate and personalize some pots. They will love having their own plants growing in their own decorated pots, and this way, the kids won’t argue about whose plant is whose. 
  • Buy some gardening tools that are designed for kids’ hands. 
  • Don’t forget sunscreen when you go outdoors. 
  • If you have no outdoor yard space at all, containers work very well for planting most vegetable and fruit seeds. Even an old sandbox will do fine. 
  • Raised container beds will also work very well if yard space is unavailable. 

Final thoughts

There are plenty of additional benefits for kids to gain from having their own garden. Teach them how much money can be saved from growing produce at home, how much better it tastes, and how healthy it is for them to eat freshly grown produce. Talk to kids about conservation and sustainability and talk about the importance of caring for the environment and nature. Kids who know how to garden gain problem-solving skills, learn responsibility, and gain self-confidence. 

Leave a comment