So, you’ve decided that this is the year you’re going to start your family garden and you’re not sure how to incorporate your kids? We’re here to help! Just follow these three easy steps and before you know it, you’ll be reaping the figurative and literal benefits of working the land together.
Once you start thinking about growing your own food, it’s tempting to plan a large, grandiose garden, especially if you have the space. Growing that much food can be difficult and you may be setting yourself and your kids up for failure. Starting with a small family garden means less money, time, and devotion. Whether it’s a few potted tomato plants or a small raised garden bed (make your own with this tutorial from The Pioneer Woman!), you’ll still be able to teach your children the important lessons of hard work and perseverance.
Regardless of their age, there is something for every child to do in a garden! Involve them from the very beginning by sitting together as a family and drawing out the plans for your family garden. Take a trip to your local garden store to pick out the seeds or seedlings together. Let each child pick out one plant that will be 100% their responsibility. Keep in mind that the plant they pick probably will not make it and that’s okay. The lessons they will learn about where our food comes from and the complexity of life will be worth far more than the few bucks you’re out-of-pocket!
Bring It Home
The lessons learned in a family garden don’t have to end in the garden! Include the kids when you harvest your crops. Their excitement at picking their own food will be infectious! Bring your vegetables and fruit into the kitchen and continue to incorporate the kids by making a meal together. Depending on their age, simple meals such as spaghetti sauce (like this one from Chez Pim) or a salad are a great way to start healthy habits that will continue for the rest of their lives.
I hope you found these hints useful and will consider using them to help start your family garden. Even if none of your crops bear fruit, the time spent working with your family in nature is priceless. So, what are you planning on growing this year?