Gardening with my kids is one of my greatest joys.
That sentence you just read? It’s not one I ever thought I’d type, much less live!
You see, I haven’t always had a green thumb. In fact, I’ve killed a lot of plants in my life. But shortly after my daughter Grace’s birth, I started thinking about growing a garden. I imagined teaching Grace the miracle of starting something from seed, and how tending to things little-by-little to help them flourish. I pictured a slower pace for our family, picking basil and tomatoes from the garden each night for dinner. It would be magical!
As enticing as this all sounded, though, I had no idea where to begin! If I wasn’t an expert, how could I grow anything? If I couldn’t do it perfectly, why should I even try?
No Risk, No Reward...
I was tempted to give up my gardening dreams.
But, if I never took the risk to dig in, I would be teaching Grace though my example not to start things just because you don’t think you’ll be good at them.
And I wasn’t going to let that happen.
That thought brought me out into the dirt.
I dug in and never looked back.
I’m still not an expert on gardening, but I’ve learned a thing or two–and so has Grace! The garden has given us far more than edibles.
Here are a few of my best tips for getting your garden started too–no perfection required.
One of the best ways to create a kid-friendly garden is to think on their level (literally). What can you grow that will be easy for them to pick? What would you not mind them touching or plucking often (rose and raspberry bushes, for instance, are not a good idea)? What would they most enjoy nibbling on? We have a mint garden just for Grace to munch on, and it grows with zero maintenance. But, a word of caution: don’t plant mint in your vegetable garden. It will take over and you will never be able to get rid of it! We have ours planted at the base of a tree in the front yard where it can spread out as it pleases.
I purposely choose to grow what I call “snacking tomatoes” like Sweet 100’s so Grace and my son Josh can pick and eat them. Herbs are also fun and totally harmless if your little one sticks a fistful of basil in her mouth! But, don’t do hot peppers within reach of little fingers and mouths. This all seems like common sense but it does take some forethought. If you want to get your kids to enjoy the gift of gardening, create a garden in which they can fully immerse their five senses–with nothing off limits.
Grace loves picking marigold petals to throw in the air in celebration, and I don’t hinder her from doing it. Grace also has a little “fairy garden” in one of the flower beds where she plays make believe, and Josh has a dirt patch that he loves to dig in. This garden was meant to be a place of nourishment, play, and wonder. I let her water the plants, prune with her little craft scissors, pick, pluck, eat and dig as she pleases.
We have learned to cultivate. We’ve learned that getting messy is fun, and that good things grow over time. We’ve learned the value of hard work, and that the journey is just as fun as the destination.
What the Garden Has Taught Us
The garden has grown something wonderful in my children–and in my husband and me too! We have learned to cultivate. We’ve learned that getting messy is fun, and that good things grow over time. We’ve learned the value of hard work, and that the journey is just as fun as the destination.
I hope this encourages you to get out there, my friend. I can’t wait to see what you and your littles grow!
Hi, y’all! I’m Lara. I’m a mom to three–one through the gift of adoption, a grateful wife, and a believer in the impossible (we have quite the story!). If we were having tea together right now, you’d find out quickly that I’m passionate about helping people get unstuck, unrushed, and living on purpose instead of by accident. To help with those things, I created the PowerSheets™ grace-filled goal setting planner, the Write the Word™ journals, and I founded Southern Weddings a decade ago.