10 Tips On Growing A Home Garden With Your Children

Gardening is a great way to bond and share life lessons with your child. Also, how better to help her appreciate vegetables and fruits, than have her grow them in your very own home garden!

By Monali Bordoloi

10 Tips On Growing A Home Garden With Your Children
"You have the chance to plant a seed of something very special in the hearts, minds, and spirits of your children as you garden together." — Cathy James, UK-based Gardening Writer  

Let your child get his hands dirty. 

Let him dig in the soil, plant a seed, water it carefully, and watch it grow. He will learn all about patience and how nature works. He will understand and experience the magic brought about by care, water and sunshine.  

And yes, watching fruits or vegetables grow in his own little garden, can help your child gain new respect for the food he eats. So, why not start planning and planting, a little garden at home with your child? 

The miracle of gardening

According to Pari Berlin, creative head of a pre school that also runs gardening workshops for children in Bengaluru: “Picky eaters usually get interested in eating their vegetables if they grow them.” Through gardening workshops, Pari aims to integrate education with nature for the all-round development of children. “Gardening is a wonderful way to help children explore their creativity, use their imagination and interact with nature. Through our gardening workshops, we teach children the foundation of science, explain the different parts of a plant, how living things grow, so on," she says.  

Pari believes that gardening can bring about immense changes in your child. So, how can it benefit your child? “Gardening is good for hand-eye coordination and gets your child outdoors and into a more active lifestyle. To make your child understand sensory development, you can use gardening. Feeling the texture of the soil, holding and counting seeds, discovering different varieties of flowers and counting petals — these are all learning experiences. Moreover, your child understands all about patience and responsibility by tending to plants.”

Overall development 

According to Puja Gurung, founder of a nature club that conducts nature-related activities across Bengaluru, gardening also gives your child insights into various subjects. "Gardening also provides a practical understanding of biology, chemistry, geography, history, nutrition and health. It is not just about planting or sowing seeds and can enhance a child's overall well-being," she stresses.

Moreover, gardening is also considered helpful for children with special needs. Puja explains it thus: "Gardening can have a calming effect on special children and those with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). It helps them de-stress and be more mindful. Plus, children who spend more time outdoors are happier, healthier, smarter, and also more creative and confident.”

So, what are you waiting for, plant a garden today! Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start: 

10 tips to grow a home garden:

  1. Make sure to include your child in choosing plants for your home garden. This will make him feel important and involved. 
  2. There is no need to splurge on costly gardening accessories. Together with your child, paint and upcycle old water bottles, car tyres or old containers into planters. 
  3. Decide a spot for your home garden. Pari says gardens don't require a lot of space. "Apartment-dwellers are always hard-pressed for open space. But, home gardens can come up anywhere — convert window sills, balconies, shelves, an unused tabletop or even a corner of a room — into a garden. The only pre-requisite is that it must have good, natural light. And, make sure that pets or small children cannot easily access this space". 
  4. Make sure you decide on flowers and vegetables that can be grown easily. For instance, you can either buy or use seeds from the tomatoes, peas and coriander from your kitchen. 
  5. Teach your child the basics of planting. Watch online videos on home-gardening to know more. 
  6. Start by asking your child to fill three-fourths of the pot with dry soil. Now, together, plant the sapling or seeds in the middle. Then, cover them with another layer of soil and water.
  7. Your child will love watering the plants. Tending to the plants will make your child all the more excited about gardening. But do teach your child about not wasting water, and the correct amounts of water each plant will require. Be prepared for spills and wet, joyful faces though!
  8. You can get your child to clean the garden or balcony area by collecting leaves, sweeping and tidying the place. An older child can carefully clean the pots too.
  9. Make gardening a parent-child bonding activity. Pari advises: “Set aside a few minutes every day to water and weed the plants in your home garden. After a few days, your child will look forward to this special time with you. This can either be first thing in the morning, before you go to school/work or, something you both do once you are home in the evenings.”
  10. On weekends, spend a little time on decorating pots and making garden accessories along with your child. Unleash your child's creativity — get him to re-paint old mugs, shells and old containers. It is a great way for you to de-stress too. 

Puja Gurung sums it up. “Children don’t need much encouragement to take up gardening. They are happy to play and dig around in the mud. But as a parent, don't be afraid of the mess and don't discourage them from exploring and making that mess! Secondly, start small. Choose fast-germinating plants so that your child doesn’t lose interest. Quick-growing greens such as methi, palak and coriander are good to start with." 

Gardening, she says, is all about unleashing your child’s creativity. There is so much more that you can do, together. "Gardening doesn’t just have to be about planting and watering. Read, write and watch garden and nature-related stories, make a fairy garden, build bird feeders, place a water bowl to attract birds and insects. Go on nature walks or visit farms and parks to help your child see how different things in the natural world are connected,” adds Puja. 

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