Can They Dig It?

We asked Luan Akin, Garden Ambassador at Tagawa Gardens, for tips on how to get your kids excited about planting in their backyard.

Courtesy Pixabay

Plant small vegetables

“Sometimes it’s hard for kids to wait for a vegetable to grow. It’s like, ‘Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.’ But one thing you can do is plant a bean in a clear plastic cup, up against the side, and set it in the sun, so kids can watch it sprout and start to grow. It’s fun.”

Dig into the soil

“It’s important for kids to realize how important soil is—that it’s a living thing. Have them stick their hands into a pot of potting soil and feel that. People don’t realize how good it feels—it’s cool, it’s soft. It’s like magic dirt. You can also have your kids dig in the soil looking for worms and other little critters. It’s alive!”

Have them plant a big pot

“I’d recommend a pot about a foot wide; children can put in flowers or herbs they like. There is such a sense of ownership when you tell a child ‘This is your flower.’ The connection is there, just ready to be built.”

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Talk about color

“Take your kids to a top-flight garden center and go to the annuals section, where they will see bench after bench of color. Give them a kids’ magnifying glass and have them play detective, looking for things inside the flowers.”

Talk about similarities

“Try to build a connection between your kids and the plants. Tell them, ‘Plants are just like you—they need a good place to live, and they need water and sunshine.’”

Emphasize the senses

Don’t just say, ‘Isn’t that a pretty flower?’ Also show your kids to use their senses of touch and smell. A dusty miller, for example, feels like velvet; some of the annual grasses have soft ponytails. Then go to the herb department; tell your kids to give an herb a gentle rub and then smell their fingers. The magic of the wonderful fragrance (like mint or lemon verbena) will help the herb come to life.”