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Growing Memories

10 Tips for Gardening with Kids

Gardening teaches children where their food comes from and instills a love for nature. It’s also a fun way to spend time together as a family. Use these ten tips to plant a seed for the love of gardening:

➊ Start small

Don’t overwhelm your kids with a huge garden. Start with a small plot or even a container garden so they can see results quickly.

➋ Choose easy-to-grow crops

Plant veggies with big seeds and the shortest days to harvest for quick results. Check a local planting guide (I have one on my website) to ensure you’re planting at the right time so seeds will sprout and grow well. My picks are radishes, peas, beans, and sunflowers.

➌ Grow things they like to eat

Research the crops your family likes eating, and find the best time and way to plant them. Do you love strawberries? Are carrots and broccoli favorites? They are excellent choices for kids’ gardens when planted at the right time.

➍ Let them help

Tasks will vary depending on age and ability, but allow them to do whatever they can in the garden. It may be messier or take longer, but they will feel pride in ownership. Simple jobs for kids include: Dumping, watering, and planting.

➎ Be positive and make it enjoyable

Look for the positive in their actions; don’t just point out mistakes. Make it a game. Are there weeds to pull? Everyone pull 20 and see how quickly we can finish. Keep gardening sessions short. A little bit each day is better than long sessions where they get tired and worn out.

➏ Make it a sensory experience

Let children feel the dirt in their hands and smell the fragrances of herbs and flowers. Found a worm? Watch it squirm on your hand for a minute before gently putting it back in the soil and watching it wiggle into the earth.

➐ Incorporate interests

If they like science, get a compost thermometer, watch the compost heat up, and then learn why. Budding artists can make plant markers from rocks or draw pictures of what’s growing. Do they like to take pictures? Have them document the process.

➑ Harvest and eat what you grow

I thought I didn’t like carrots until I ate one in my grandpa’s garden. Encourage your children to try everything and “practice” liking it. Find recipes to use the garden produce. Enjoy your locally sourced, farm-to-table harvests!

➒ Learn from the experience

Keep a garden journal to log harvests (weigh them, draw pictures, etc.) and tape seed packets in the journal. If things don’t grow well, try to discover what went wrong and see if you can do better the next time.

➓ Share the miracles

Enjoy the magic of pulling carrots from the earth that started as tiny seeds. Look for new growth, blossoms, sprouting seeds, insect eggs, cocoons, butterflies, and rainbows. Spot something cool? Show it to them. Soon, they will make their own discoveries and share them with you.

Angela Judd
Angela Judd
A passionate gardener and mother of five, Angela Judd shares expert advice on growing vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees through her blog, Growing in the Garden, YouTube, and social media channels. As a certified master gardener and author, she specializes in helping gardeners succeed in the harsh desert growing conditions of Arizona and other hot climates.



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