To kids, young and old, a garden is a big world filled with possibilities. Even the simplest garden can be a place of mystery and excitement, but gardens can offer so much more. The best ones are filled with special places—sunny spots, trellises dripping with sweet raspberries and crisp sugary peas, pumpkin vines rampaging on fences, clumps of milky corn on the cob to be gathered and nibbled, each small kernel popping creamy sweetness, vast pools of nasturtiums with nectar to be sucked, snapdragons to be snapped, ants to watch for hours, clouds to see strange worlds in, jungles of summer leaves to hide in, teepees of sweet peas to read beneath.
Fortunately, in the Dr. Earth® organic world—provided that no poisonous plants are grown—children can play freely. Ponds, however, present a danger even if they are shallow, and should not be accessible until children are old enough.
Children love to imitate what we adults do. Allocate a small area of a good piece of land, one that has been well cultivated and composted. First results with gardening have a way of staying with us. Poor soil in a shady corner is a recipe for early disillusionment with gardening.
Large-seeded plants are easiest for young fingers to manage. Corn is a good choice. Make sure that many seeds are planted. Draw a circle on the soil and encourage your child to plant it evenly with seed. Sunflowers are an easy crop. So too are zucchini, tomatoes, nasturtiums, marigolds, beans, peas and strawberries.
Include children in planning garden plantings for the season. Vegetables become special when you own them or have helped care for them. Make harvesting a privilege and supply a personalized basket to make the job special. Create projects that you can do together, such as planting a flower carpet. Design it together, choosing the pattern and the colors, selecting the right dwarf plants, buying or raising seedlings together, drawing the pattern on the soil and filling it in. The living picture is glowing color in midsummer will be a memory to treasure. Use a simple motif such as a white duck against blue water with a yellow sun, or a pattern of squares.
Creating a thyme lawn, a planter pot filled with strawberries or a hanging basket full of flowers, or constructing a teepee for climbing beans are all simple projects that will bring the magic of gardening into young lives, as well as older ones. Don’t forget the simplest of pleasures, making it a family event. A few fairytales, myths, and magic can complete a perfect summer memory.