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Gardening Doesn't Have to Feel Overwhelming
When my husband and I first moved to Tennessee from San Diego, CA, we built a huge garden. We soon learned that the ample rainwater and green grass that grows here meant we would be constantly dealing with weeds. Because of the little rain we got in San Diego, we had drip lines that would water the plants on a timer and only water the section where the drip line was. As you can imagine, we did not have much of a weed problem.
The overwhelming feeling of having to weed that first garden kept us from doing a garden since then, until last year. I made a promise to myself that I was going to do a small garden that I could better manage. Last year I made two garden beds that were close to the house and Fletcher helped me keep up with them. That was also when I learned that if he was involved in the process of growing food in the garden, he was more willing to try new vegetables!! This was a game-changer for us. We went from having a kid that wouldn’t touch a vegetable to having a kid that ate cilantro off the plant any time he passed it.
Why get your kids helping in the garden?
You may not feel like you have a green thumb, but that shouldn’t stop you from involving your kids in gardening! In fact, you don’t need a green thumb to get your kids started, and you may find that you learn more about gardening as you teach your kids. But why get your kids in the garden? Are there any benefits? Turns out, there are a lot more benefits than just having another activity to do with your kids!
❁ Gardening with kids increases the likelihood that your child will try a new vegetable! If they are made to be an integral part of growing food, they’re going to be excited to try whatever they grow!
❁ Gardening teaches kids how to reduce their environmental impact (even if they don’t understand the weight of that right now!) and can help instill a love and appreciation of the earth.
❁ Gardening can help to strengthen your kids’ immune system because it exposes them to the beneficial bacteria in the soil.
❁ Gardening involves all 5 senses and provides an opportunity to explore these with your child. What color are these plants? What does this flower smell like? What does the dirt feel like?
❁ Gardening promotes and develops gross and fine motor skills which will help them in all other areas of their life!
❁ Digging, pulling weeds, picking up rocks, and watering work to develop their gross motor skills.
❁ Planting seeds and picking produce off the vine work to develop fine motor skills.
Ideas to get your kids started in the garden
Weeding the Garden
Most kids love getting dirty and being destructive and pulling out weeds checks both those boxes. Even if Fletcher doesn’t do a great job, it doesn’t matter. He is having fun, I’m happy because I have help, and we are doing something together!
Have Gardening Tools They Can Use
Fletcher loves imitating me so if I’m wearing gardening gloves, he wants to wear gloves too. I found him his own little gardening set at Aldi last summer. It’s been a great purchase for only a few dollars!
Getting rocks out of your soil is great for your plants and great for your kids! Fletcher came up with the idea of using his dump truck to collect the rocks at the garden and then taking it to our rock bucket. He loved his garden job!
Watering the Garden
Watering the garden is probably the easiest way to incorporate them. Kids love playing with water and they can have fun spraying it all around. Just be sure to watch them and don’t let them switch it to the pressure wash setting! Fletcher kept trying to do that because he thought it was funny!
Harvest the Goods
This is when you get to reap the fruit of you labor – literally! Kids will be so excited to pick and collect the food they’ve helped grow. Truth be told, I get just as excited as Fletcher when we finally get to harvest the goods!
Let Them be Silly
When they’re ready to stop helping with the garden tasks you’ve given them, let them come up with their own ideas of fun. We were cracking up at the stick man Fletcher created and he was so excited about it he asked me to take this picture!
Have a Place for Them to Rest
Gardening is hard work and they may get tired of helping you. I always have a blanket out for him to sit on once he hits that point. I don’t want to push him and make him feel like gardening is work. I got this blanket off of Amazon and I absolutely LOVE it. He’ll sit there eating snacks and “supervising” my work. It cracks me up!
Start your seeds in toilet paper rolls
Get a head start on the growing season and start your seeds in toilet paper rolls inside! This is not only an eco-friendly way to start growing your seeds, but it makes for an amazing and easy way to get kids involved in the planting process. Learn how to make toilet paper roll seed pots here!
Ideas of What to Plant
- Bush Beans (Fletcher has so much fun picking these and tasting them! They also do not need a lot of space to grow)
- Basil (If you grow too much, you can always freeze basil using the tips in this blog!)
Meet Alane and Fletcher
Alane has kept her 40 lb weight loss off since 2013, and created BurgerFit and Cooking with My Friends as a way to get her family eating better. Her health journey started in 2012 after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and obesity. Frustrated and determined, Alane decided to make small, sustainable changes in her diet so that it would be maintainable for a lifetime. Now Alane maintains a healthy weight range and has incorporated quick and easy recipes that keep her picky family members eating better!
Fletcher enjoys break dancing, cooking, sports commentary, and running really fast speed - anywhere and everywhere. He is an avid lover of music and plays harmonica, drums, and guitar. From a young age, he has loved being a part of whatever his parents, Alane and Micah, are doing. He has even started coming up with recipes of his own to test out. His dream is to own 10 coffee shops from Tennessee to Arizona to Minnesota.
Growing up together
There is no doubt that even as we get older, we don’t stop learning and that is what both Fletcher and I have done together since I had him. I’ve grown a ton raising him and watching him grow. I like to think we are both growing up together. I have tried to incorporate Fletcher in everything I do from to cooking and cleaning the kitchen, to practicing for media events, to traveling the world for speaking engagements. I try to make it fun so he keeps wanting to be a part of it. Not everything is a win but everyday is a new adventure!