The answer to that question whether “should kids garden?” is probably obvious – and one that is in the affirmative. But what lies behind saying ‘yes’?
Most normal kids would prefer to play in their spare time and certainly not do chores – and gardening does involve work. Yet, without a great deal of thought, the benefits are fairly obvious.
What isn’t so apparent is how to entice or get the kids enthusiastic about not just idea of having their own garden, but also be persistent in their care of it.
Some Ideas Worth Trying
Tie their veg growing to pocket money – say you will buy for the home any produce they grow. Obviously, you will need to take into account any problems – like bugs eating all their hard work – you don’t want them discouraged. Perhaps their allowance can be more tied to their efforts regardless of the end product.
This activity is also good to introduce kids to new vegetables – it is good for them to see that our food does not start out wrapped in cling wrap! Perhaps though it is better to begin with them growing their favorite vegetable – plus the new one.
Involve the child in the use of what they grow – show them how you cook or prepare their produce – and show them the variations of cooking that veg – and ask them what they prefer. If its salad food – get them to make a salad from their produce for the dinner table.
Add some fun – eg if space permits get them to grow a Halloween pumpkin! This needn’t be limited to a food garden – if their interest is more in growing flowers – then let them do this – with the same financial incentive. Or combine both veg and flowers – the latter come into bloom long before vegetables are ready to harvest and seeing their work produce results reasonably quickly may just encourage them to persist.
Perhaps you could even start with a small chicken / duck run – for the eggs. Space permitting of course. Most local government authorities allow a limited number of poultry to be raised in home gardens.
Work With Them
One thing – work with the kids – don’t leave them to do it all alone – and also don’t do it all for them. Mutually decide on a schedule and patiently show them the various chores are done.
Last but not least, share with them the concept of energy efficiency and that what they are doing is environmentally friendly.