by Louise Gleeson
Growing up, we lived next door to a wonderful Greek family, who grew a vegetable garden every summer that was the envy of the block. My parents made an attempt once, but mostly we enjoyed the delicious peppers and tomatoes our neighbours graciously shared.
It was a different story for my husband, though. He and his siblings spent their childhood working in their mom’s infamous vegetable garden.
And despite the stories he tells about eye rolls and complaints, he’s determined to share the same experience with our kids. Between the months of April and October, they spend hours digging and playing in the dirt. And they absolutely love it.
Each spring, we begin the process of planting a backyard vegetable garden. Even though we live in the suburbs, we still have everything we need to make those veggies grow: dirt, sunshine, water, and, of course, four sets of little green thumbs.
Through the summer months, you can find our kids: watering, weeding, and eating whatever we’re able to grow. Here is how to plant a garden with kids in 3 simple steps:
1. To get started, we head to a local garden centre to choose dirt, manure, seeds, and plants. You can find a wide variety of seeds (we look for organic), and some herbs and vegetables are easier to start as plants (herbs, tomatoes, and lettuce).
2. Next, we draw out the design (which veggies will grow next to which herbs), and the kids make little signs to stick into the dirt. This is where you can use some family creativity—ours like to create a map of the garden, and have a lot of fun designing the signs with elaborate drawings of how they think the veggies will turn out.
3. Finally, we start digging and planting. We have a collection of kid-sized trowels and watering cans that make this part a lot of fun.
Our garden is still small compared to the ones we grew up around, but we hope that as our kids grow, it will too. We’re just glad to be spending time working on a project that needs everyone’s help.
So what are you waiting for?
Get some dirt, gather your kids, and start digging.
Louise is an experienced freelance journalist and lifestyle and parenting blogger. As a work-at-home mother of four active kids, between the ages of three and 11, she brings a wealth of real life experience to her writing. Although she is formally trained in health and science writing, she found the antics and adventures of life with a big family to be a great source of material, and has written in this area for the past several years. Her work has appeared on several parenting and lifestyle websites, as well as in national parenting magazine, Today’s Parent. Louise’s popular blog Late Night Plays provides an honest and candid perspective on parenthood, that inspires fellow parents to take a closer look at their own experiences.