Gardening is an art that inculcates responsibility, creativity, succession planning, disaster management, positivity, love, and care toward nature. It brings mental peace.
Gardening is the miniature of farming. It will help us to explore the possibility of life in a limited space and its sturdiness in achieving the goal with minimal requirements. It is an important life skill that everyone should learn. Because of current situations, we might never know there would be a necessity to grow our own organic food supplies.
Being mommies, we play a vital role in sowing this into the little minds and helping them practice an important skill for a better future.
Gardening and Neighbourhood
Before starting with gardening, it is important to consider the characteristics of the locality. Since the space, availability of gardening materials, climate, vegetation and etc… are based on the neighborhood.
Villages: Gardening is quite common in villages in addition to farming. Everyone from the 2-year kid to old age granny would have been exposed to gardening or farming. They even would get all their food supplies from coriander to banana leaf and chilly to pumpkin and banana to jackfruit from their own backyard. The backyard is such a nice place, right?
Cities: But, in cities, with stacked houses, space is the first constraint for gardening. Most urban kids would not know how food is grown and harvested. Since most of our supplies would come from the nearby grocery shops or vegetables market or supermarkets. But let space not hinder your love for gardening. We can always make way and find time and space for growing our own veggies to cook pesticides free healthy food. Terrace Gardening is gaining popularity among city people to relish organic vegetables and fruits and have a healthy lifestyle.
Introduce by the Age
Gardening can become a routine through practice and self-interest. Good methods and better tips will be fruitful. These tips to introduce gardening to your kids will come in handy when you are a nature lover. For ease of the child to learn it is better to teach them as per their age. Now you can teach gardening to all your kids be it preschoolers or teens and do Gardening, the paradise!
Pre-Schoolers and School Goers
The tiny footers are the best observers. Yeah! The copycats! So, do the garden activities in front of them and allow them to explore the soil. It will not only let them learn but also help build their immunity. Remember immunity is best built at young age.
- Give them a small space or up-cycled canisters or paper cups or mushroom trays or even cardboard sweet boxes.
- Allow them to fill their garden space with the soil mixture prepared by you or your young adults.
- Teach them visually about different seeds and let them feel them by hand which makes them have a deeper impression of the seeds.
- Allow them to soak seeds for sowing.
- Encourage them to plow and level the space with child-friendly gardening tools.
- Create interest following the germination day by day with them and appreciate them by drawing stars for their hard work.
- Use quick-growing seeds, micro greens like fenugreek, wheat, mustard, etc to make them interested which will grow quickly with less effort
- Include them in gardening routines like pouring water and weeding with proper equipment but strictly under your surveillance. This would be safe for both the plants and the kids. Plucking is an interesting activity for them so they might end up plucking out all the plants without attention.
- Make them aware of the amount of water and sunlight required for the plants. Expose those tiny palms and feet to worms and bugs with your assistance, but never leave them unattended in/ near the garden space. My son was fascinated to see the earthworms under the pots. Enjoy those expressions on their face.
- Let them play in mud which strengthens the body, mind, and soul.
- Make gardening a fun-orientated activity rather than a daily duty for them.
- Have little fun with water and mud now and then. It not just grows the plants but also your family bonding.
Preteens and Teens
The energetic little adults who are the full swing explorers. Yeah! The questioning stars! So, do the gardening activities with plans and answers. It’s the right time to show them the importance of organic plants. It is important to learn its effect on our healthy and self-reliant life. It will give happiness, appreciation, and confidence towards the way of living.
Allow them to choose the space for gardening
- Give them ideas to choose a space on your balcony or terrace or backyard.
- Buy a few lightweight terracotta planters for them to do gardening if you don’t have a patch of soil to garden.
Encourage them to plan and design the garden space
- Ask them to make a checklist of the names of the plants, the number of the plants, and the number of planters with size.
- Let them classify the plants as veggies, greens,, and fruits and maintain a count separately. This will not only help in gardening but also in raising them an organized kid.
Visit a nursery
- Visiting a nursery will give them knowledge on the soil mixture – proportions of soil, coco-peat, and vermicompost, etc… Growth of the plants depends on the fertility of the soil used,, and learning it is essential for gardening.
- With 2 to 3 visits they might learn the correct proportions for the different plants properly.
Allow them to prepare the soil mixture
- Guide them in preparing the soil mixture at home
- After reaching home, guide them in creating their own soil mixture
- You can even prepare natural compost from your food waste. It is the best way to teach eco-friendliness and sustainability.
Let them grow their favorite plants
- Give them ideas about the time of growth of the various plants, the variety of flowering plants,, and their tenure/ season of flowering
- By now they will have plants of their choice, let them choose plants suitable for the prevailing seasons. Eg: Beetroot and Tomatoes grow in all seasons.
- Teach them the usage of fertilizers and pesticides and the intervals of application.
- Encourage them to use natural fertilizers like food waste, natural compost, and natural pesticides like neem oil.
Enlighten them on plants and dependent eco-system
- Educate them on the need of flowering plants for the living of bees and wasps and their significance in eco-system.
- Knowledge on Worms and bugs and classifying them as harmful and helpful is important.
- Examples: Earthworms- Friends of Farmers, Friends of plants which helps to grow. White worms- harm the root system of plants
Living in a country whose back bone is Agriculture, everyone should know gardening.
Beyond the fruits and veggies, gardening teaches us to embrace the failures and start fresh with new learnings. Every germinating seed is way of nature to say, “Try, Try, try until you succeed in your life.” Gardening is way for the kids to connect with nature and understand the sacredness of Nature. Only when they respect nature can they preserve.
We together can make our kids learn gardening and enjoy an organic life.