Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be re-sharing a few posts that I published last year as part of a series called Spring Into Summer. My blog has grown much, thanks to all of you, in the past year, so many may not have seen these posts. I hope to give you some tools to prepare ahead of time for a fun, creative and relaxing summer.

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids,” asks Robert Brault, “when you can just have them plant a garden?”

Planting tiny seeds, then waiting and watching as they sprout into fruitful plants, really is like watching many mini-miracles blossom. This is the main reason I love to garden with my children. Gardening makes us stand in awe again and again of God’s amazing creation.
There are many other reasons to garden together. Among them,
  • Gardening is an amazing teaching tool. Gardening opens up the door to discussions of plant cycles, good bugs vs. bad bugs, weather, soil, and life. It also helps children visualize where some of their food really comes from (i.e. it doesn’t originate on a shelf in Wal-mart!)
  • Gardening forces you outside. The average modern child spends way too much time camped in front of a computer or tv screen and way too little time outside. (The average adult does too!) Gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh air and sunshine together.
  • Gardening contributes to the family economy (hopefully!) Growing some of your own vegetables together helps save money on the grocery bill. Even small children enjoy knowing that they are “helping the family.”
  • Gardening helps children learn to love vegetables. If you’ve carefully tended a bean plant together, chances are your child will willingly eat the beans. 
Gardening with your child is fun. Gardening with your child is worthwhile. Gardening is a wonderful way to spend time together.

However, if you’re new to gardening, the last thing you want to do is jump in, plant a huge garden, and get overwhelmed. Here are a few simple tips for planting a garden with children.
  • Only plant vegetables you really like and regularly eat. In over six years of grocery shopping, I have bought eggplant once. No matter how fun it sounds, planting eggplant would probably not be a wise idea for our family. Instead, let your children pick one or two of their favorite vegetables to grow!
  • Start with easy to grow vegetables. Cucumber, bean, sunflowers, and squash are easy-to-grow summer vegetables/flowers you can plant from seed. Tomatos and peppers are also easy, but you’d want to purchase a plant. (Check out Jill’s Home Remedies for great deals on non-GMO heirloom seeds.)
  • Start small. It’s so tempting when you’re planning a garden to want to put in three rows of cucumbers. However, unless you’re planning on starting a farmer’s market (or keeping the whole neighborhood stocked) a few plants would be more manageable. It would be much better to plant one tomato plant in a pot and actually enjoy the process, than let a whole garden full of vegetables become a burden.
  • Realize that even a “failed garden” is worth it. Sure, we’d all love to plant beautiful gardens that keep are families fed for weeks. However, even if your garden fails, the time spent with your children was not wasted! 
And now for the fun part: what can a child help with in the garden? Practically everything.

Give your children a small spade and they will be more than happy to dig up the soil (and get covered in it!) Hand them seeds and they’ll willingly poke them in the holes you make. Entrust them with a cup and they will gladly help keep the plants watered.

Teach them to distinguish weeds from plants and they’ll help keep the weeds at bay. Watch your plants grow together and chances are your children will spot the first ripe vegetables… and gladly help pick them!

What about you? Do you have a garden? Do your children like to help you with it?

Shared at Thriving Thursdays

Anna believes building a home for God’s glory is a high and noble calling. She seeks to capture the daily adventure of this calling on her blog, Feminine Adventures. There she writes about her passions: Christian womanhood, mothering little ones and homemaking. Visit her blog or join her on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest.

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