I am a firm believer that everyone should at least try gardening a few times in their life. No, I don’t think it’s easy or that everyone will love it. Heck, I don’t even like it sometimes, but I know it is important. Taking an active role in our food chain gives a new appreciation to those who dedicate their lives to providing our world with food.
But it’s more than that.
Above that is our Creator. God created our bodies, He knows each hair on our head and the intricate details that make us who we are. Who better to take nutritional advice from than the original Gardener? He created the very first garden:
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Genesis 2:8
And He created the first garden why?
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:” Genesis 2:16
Food. He created the garden for food. And with the rise of food allergies, sensitivities, and digestive disorders, I think we should do some serious examining of our food system.
Unfortunately, things changed with the fall of man, and gardening was no longer an easy task (see Genesis 3:17-19), but there is still much value to keeping a garden. Just don’t leave your kids out of it!
Today I want to focus on an easy way to get started gardening with your kids. I know that for myself, sometimes it is easier to do something if I’m teaching it to my kids. I think that’s the homeschooling mama in me. I don’t have time to add something else to my plate (got to love a good pun), but if I can turn it into a homeschool project, watch out world!
Gardening isn’t just for homeschooling families though. All kids should understand the hard work that goes into the food on their plate.
Am I scaring you with all this hard work talk? Please don’t be scared off from trying this. The hard work I refer to comes with large gardens, like our 2,688 square feet of garden. The bigger the garden, the harder the work. Well, sort of. There are actually ways to ease the workload, but that’s another post.
You are going to grow a container garden!
- Containers – Any size, but vegetable plants need bigger containers than herbs typically.
- Organic potting soil
- Organic seeds or transplants
- Make sure your container has sufficient holes for proper drainage. If they are too big, add some rocks or a single layer of newspaper to prevent your soil from pouring out.
- Fill your container with soil.
- Plant your transplant or seed.
- Water your plants and place them in a sunny spot.
- Check soil daily to be sure it is damp. You don’t want your soil to be wet or dry, check before watering by sticking your finger in the soil.
- If you’ve chosen vegetable plants, you may need to fertilize your plants.
- Make sure they are getting adequate sunshine daily.
- Check for pests daily.
If you are wondering what to plant, here are a few considerations for you:
- Chives – Top your baked potatoes with fresh chives! These are as easy to grow as those wheatgrass projects we all did in elementary school.
- Cherry tomatoes – These require a larger container and may need more watering when they start to fruit, but cherry tomato plants are typically prolific producers. Kids of all ages love to pluck these and eat them while they are still warm from the sunshine.
- Basil – Season your spaghetti sauce with fresh basil.
- Lettuce – Lettuces have shallow roots, which can make them a pain in a typical garden because you can easily uproot them when weeding. This makes them ideal for container gardens.
- Peppers – Peppers tend to like drier soil, so this can make them more forgiving if you miss watering it one day. Bell peppers are sweet, jalapeños are hot, and habaneros are hot. Proceed with caution.
You don’t have to do a bunch of plants, in fact, start with one if you are skeptical. Growing one tomato plant or one container of lettuce greens makes you more active in food production. Just think what could happen if we raise a generation of kids that understand how food grows and that they don’t have to depend on a supermarket, corporation, or even money to eat.
Finally, I have a gift for you!
I made printable labels for your container garden. You can print these out, fill in your plant information, laminate them, and then attach them to your containers. I’ve also included two options for a visual reminder to water your plants if your garden is in a spot you may forget about. You can hang the reminder somewhere conspicuous so you hopefully don’t forget your garden.
Print your garden labels and watering reminders now!
Clip art from Little Red’s Tree House