As the springtime sun is shining, warming up the ground and helping plant life bloom all around us, it is so much fun to connect with the season by planting something of your own and watching it grow!
Families with the space and the inclination to go big may enjoy planning and planting a vegetable garden together. Each family member can choose what they’d like to plant, and everyone works together on garden design, construction, planting and caring for the young plants.
But, perhaps you don’t feel very knowledgeable, or have the space for a large-scale garden….consider gardening anyway!
Children are amazing gardeners. They bring their natural curiosity and love of learning to the process. By observing the life cycle of a plant, children deepen their understanding of the world around them and begin to make inferences about their own growth and development. Caring for a small living plant allows children to practice being the nurturer and caregiver, a role they know well from observing you each day. For some very active children, the practice of slowing down and gently handling their plant can be quite calming and therapeutic.
Everyone can explore the wonders of gardening with some of these small, simple projects:
- Dish Garden: Fill a flower pot, ceramic dish or plastic-lined basket with potting soil. Sprinkle Wheatberry seeds on top. If possible, place near a window. Spritz with water daily and in about one week, grass will be growing in your dish garden. Children can have fun decorating and playing in the tiny garden with rocks, sticks and little toy figures.
- Herb Garden: Plant a few of your favorite herb seeds in small pots on a sunny windowsill. Choose herbs you like to cook with the most- basil, cilantro, oregano… The children can spritz or water gently every few days. Keep the soil moist, but not drenched. As the plants get bigger, have fun snipping little bits to smell, taste and season your dinner!
- Container Garden: If you have access to a little bit of sunny space outside, you can plant an amazing variety of flowers and vegetables in pots! Even balconies and fire-escapes can work, if they get at least 6 hours of sunshine each day. Fill your pots with potting soil and plant seeds or starts (baby vegetable plants). Kids can truly form a connection to these tiny plants as they take responsibility for watering gently each day, talking to the plants and helping them grow.
If you are looking for more gardening inspiration, I invite you to join Southside Community Land Trust for its 20th Annual Plant Sale on May 19th and 20th. Hundreds of varieties of annuals, perennials, and fruit and vegetable plant starts will be available for purchase at City Farm in Providence. This family-friendly event is a wonderful kick-off to the growing season, featuring live music and a warm community vibe. Gardening experts will be on hand to assist you, so you will know just what to do when you get your tiny plants home!