"From little things, big things grow."
It’s a powerful phrase once you see it in action.
From planting just one little seed you can grow a bountiful tomato plant that can be harvested for many months. From one little seed you can connect nature and people in a way that will help establish long-term care and respect for our environment, instil your kids with an understanding of real food, learn self-sufficiency skills and expand curiosity.
Not to forget, that from one little seed, your family will grow closer together through sharing this space in your garden because the social aspect of gardening produces the biggest results of all.
Not all family members will want to do the same activities, and that’s the beauty of a family garden, everyone can find something they each enjoy and share the space together.
To quickly establish that your garden is more than a one off activity and you are introducing a lifelong relationship with the garden, equip everyone with the tools of the trade. Let your kids help choose their own garden gloves, boots, tools and harvest baskets. Having their own equipment will give them a sense of autonomy and ownership.
Starting plants from seed puts a hands-on-process to the life cycle that kids find fascinating. When growing from seed, take the opportunity to talk with your kids about the amazing process a plant goes through in order to deliver produce that we can consume. Choose a mix of fast and slow growing seeds to maintain everyone’s interest.
My kids spend hours playing in their own special gardens. The main reason they love it so much is because they had total control from design to construction. I encourage you to take them to your local hardware store and suggest different ideas for them to explore with fences, pebbles, watering holes and habitats.
Painted leaves pressed on paper, rock art, flower crowns, painted flower pots, bird houses & feeders, temperature gauges the list goes on and on. Sometimes we come up with our own and other times the kids will sit down with our kids’ garden projects books and mark out the ones they would like to try next. The best thing about garden craft is that you can set them up on a table and they can make as much mess as they like.
You will be amazed by the magic in garden potions and teas. I have been lucky enough to sit down to numerous tea parties and been pampered with garden goodness from the kids. This is a great imagination generator, especially if you ask them to explain all the ingredients and what will happen once you drink it!
Every garden needs to encourage beneficial insects to help combat the unwanted garden pests and of course to pollinate. Without them our crop flowers would not fruit. A bug hotel is a great way to help your kids understand that all bugs are not created equal. Before you know it, you will hear them saying, “look Mum, there’s a good bug going to work on that flower”.
Succulents are one of the best plants to grow with kids because they are tiny (just like them) and they are very hardy and easy to propagate, another important learning curve for kids. Plus, you can plant them in just about anything. I love the use of old toys, like dump trucks, being used as a planter for succulents.
You might have green thumbs or black thumbs, it doesn’t matter. It’s what happens next that will shape your family garden life. Step outside your backdoor this weekend and embrace Family Garden Life.
Rebecca Searles is the founder of Family Garden Life.Even as a child, she treasured the moments when she could escape to the garden, now she loves sharing this with her kids. Family Garden Life a blog directory for mums who want to bring their family closer to nature but aren’t sure where to start.