I’ve always loved gardening and have encouraged my older two to join in with my passion as much as possible. They grow their own vegetables and know their way around popular plants which is great. When my youngest started to walk I realised I’d need some super power skills to be able to weed, plant and dig while still keeping a close eye. Of course she wasn’t interested in gardening, she wanted to play, she wanted picnics and she wanted to be pushed on the swings. With the slightest breeze she wanted to go back inside and cuddle up watching Toy Story.
Here are a few tips I learned through trial and error on how to teach toddlers to garden.
Then I started involving her, at first I thought it would never work, she was only 18 months old and didn’t have the patience to wait for seeds to grow. Instead I appealed to another side, showing her just what we could eat from the garden, from raspberries to fresh parsley.
This really peaked her interest and so we moved onto growing cress. She loved offering it to family and friends when they visited and was really proud to call it her own. We also got some great kits from Galt, a grow your own fairy garden and a ladybird whose hair would grow, these got her really interested in growing her own.
Now she’s three and wants to be in the garden at all times. Whether it’s raining or sunny she’ll have her wellies on and will wait by the back door. She has her own raised beds now where she’s planted some seeds that are easy to grow.
The Best Seeds
Through trial and error I’ve discovered which seeds are best for children to grow. My eldest is 13 with autism and so many plants would be forgotten about or over watered. My middle daughter is nine and very impatient so I always needed to find quick growing plants.
I’ve found that the following work well, growing quickly while being impressive and putting up with a little neglect (although I do step in to weed and feed).
- Broad Beans
- Almost any bulb
- Sweet Peas
I love my days off when I can garden with her now. We did have a phase where she’d pick all the flowers but now she understands. It also helps that’s she’s at that magical age where she believes in fairies and so we like to make the beds pretty for them for when they come out.
With my eldest two still into gardening I thought it’d be a good idea to give them a voice so they could share their own ideas. The result was The Young Gardener and now they give parents insider advice on how to get their own kids excited about playing outside.