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Gardening and kids

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Gardening is great way to get kids interested in the outdoors. Helping them to actually get their plants to grow, however, can be a challenge. Try these tips to get your kids or grandkids interested in gardening.

Let the kids pick the seeds, with help. Choosing what plants the kids will grow doesn’t allow them to have input, but simply handing them a seed catalog practically guarantees they’ll pick the wrong thing. Choose about ten options on your own, then let kids pick what they want to grow from this group.

Use slightly raised beds. Raised beds are easier for kids to reach, and it cuts down on the possibility that a slip and fall will destroy new plants. Just make sure the beds aren’t so high that they cannot reach the center of them.

Consider a mix of flowers and food. Kids like to eat what they grew by themselves, but the early stages of vegetable plants aren’t that exciting to look at. By mixing the two together, they will be able to try out a variety of gardening techniques and they will always have something to show off.

Think about entering a contest. Many horticultural clubs hold competitions, as do practically all county fairs. If your kids like to compete, try to grow the largest pumpkin, prettiest flower, or tastiest herb.

Pick quick-germinating plants. Small kids seem to expect a seed to start growing the minute they plant it. Gardening is a great way to teach patience, but think about adding an “easy” plant such as marigolds or peas to get fast results.

Start a seed collection. Have older children learn how to save and store seeds. Every year, add more seeds to the collection. As they become adults, they’ll really appreciate a collection of their seeds.

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