Kids Organic Gardening
Kids Gardening for Tomorrow
Kids can take a step forward to reclaim paradise on earth by planting an organic veggie garden, in their backyard, at a community garden, or at school, using sustainable techniques that will improve the soil, water, and air for future generations. Our local community garden is expanding to include a kids-only garden where kids can discover an endless series of small miracles that pave the way for many teaching moments. Kids can take action to reverse the damage that is being done to our environment by commercial agricultural, where 30% of cropland has been lost to soil erosion and chemical poisons have polluted the water. Kids can plant in raised beds using compost, mulching, and crop rotation to build soil. By spacing the plants that harvest at different times close together and growing different varieties together that benefit each other, kids can grow nutrient rich soil as well as flavorful food. By observing the garden area and natural ecosystems, for wind, rain, sun, fire, and wildlife, kids can help the environment by choosing appropriate herbs and plants, fruit and nut trees, and ponds to enrich the soil, conserve water, and recycle energy. Local Master Gardeners can often find the perfect native species for the area. Rare heirloom, traditional, and open pollinated food seeds are being lost as mega corporations are patenting the seeds of major food plants. Kids can harvest the seeds from their garden and save the ones from plants that are healthy and delicious to plant again. Kids can learn to be self-sufficient and become part of the solution of some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as childhood hunger and obesity, as well as environmental pollution. Kids can create a little piece of heaven by planting an organic fruit and veggie garden, using soil building techniques and saving their seeds.
Soil is alive!
Kids enjoy making mud pies, digging with toy trucks, and planting seeds in the dirt. There have been studies on microbes in the soil being an antidepressant which makes gardening a stress reducer and mood lifter. Kids can improve the environment by planting an organic garden. Organic gardening improves the soil, air, and water. Instead of using chemical fertilizers, kids can improve the structure of the soil and add billions of beneficial microbial creatures to the soil by recycling kitchen and garden waste in a compost bin. Organic matter added to the soil feeds and nourishes the plants, worms, and microbes, creating a balanced ecosystem with drainage and airflow important for healthy roots. The best soils have an even mix of sand, silt, and clay; these sediments in the soil enrich plant roots with minerals and stabilized them in the ground. When trees and plants are grown organically, they provide a healthy habitat for beneficial insects and animals and the soil is alive with microorganisms. Kids can make a compost bin by starting with a layer of soil; add vegetable scraps, fresh grass, weeds; add a layer of dry leaves; and keep a lid on the compost bin. When starting a large backyard garden, families can order a truck load of organic compost from the local soil company. Kids can get earthworms at their local nursery to tunnel underground in their garden, eating fungus, algae, and bacteria growing in the soil. The tunnels the earthworm creates allow water and air to get to the roots of the plants and the worm poop they leave becomes food for the plants. To maintain soil fertility kids can practice crop rotation, growing peas or beans in a planned sequence with other crops. Like air and water, soil is an important resource. Plants and trees keep the topsoil in place. Bare topsoil can be easily washed away by rain and wind and it takes a long time to come back. When kids use kitchen and garden waste to recycle into food for their garden, the soil becomes rich with life and produces food grown for its flavor and nutrition that kids can pick fresh for the next family meal.
Kids Patio Garden
Kids will be amazed how much food can be grown in containers in a small space. Kids living in urban areas can plant veggies in containers on the patio, fabric pockets hanging on the walls, and large pots by the front door. Kids will be surprised to discover that nothing tastes better than fresh organic produce they grow themselves. Kids first need to check the hours the sun shines on the patio and to place the pots and containers in the sunny places where each plant can have the perfect soil and sun. Container gardens can be planted densely with high producing plants from spring through late autumn. The small beds allow small hands access to all parts of the garden, leaving the soil loose and well aerated for good root development. Kids can place crops close together, which shade the ground keeping the soil moist with fewer weeds. Kids can plant fast maturing seeds, like salad greens, with slower growing vegetables, like broccoli. When kids harvest the salad greens, fresh seeds can be planted in their beds. With a sunny wall, kids can create a vertical garden with landscaping pockets made of specially designed fabric pockets attached to a framework on the wall making an attractive tapestry of veggies or herbs. Kids can plant climbing beans on a trellis to train vines up instead of spreading out. The herb and veggie containers on the patio add beauty and fragrance to any outdoor living space and easy access for outdoor barbeques. Salad gardens can create a stunning display in a planter box on a deck near the kitchen. Kids love to be outside playing in the soil, especially when they can produce delicious food the whole family can enjoy.
Kids Organic Seeds
Kids can save seeds from the best plants in their organic veggie garden to plant in the spring. Every plant has a unique seed. Each seed has a surprise. They sprout. Kids love to daily watch the change as the seed is buried and a beautiful green shoot pops through the soil. There is energy inside the seed that wants to be a plant. Kids can get local organic seeds and advice for sowing the seeds by asking the Master Gardener at their community garden, garden club, or nursery. Big biotech companies are patenting and privatizing seeds, making it illegal for farmers to retain their own crops for replanting. Seed saving is the work of organic home gardeners to save heirloom veggies, as 94% of vintage open-pollinated fruit and vegetable varieties have vanished in the last century. Kids can learn to harvest their seeds to replant the next year or swap with fellow gardeners. Kids can read seed catalogs to decide which variety to plant in their area and the characteristics of each plant to know how much space is required. Seeds come in all shapes and sizes. Kids want to grow the veggies their family likes the best. Kids can find the sun in the backyard, measure out the garden space and draw a garden plan in a notebook, placing and naming the herbs and veggies in their drawing. Kids can make wooden or plastic labels to put in the pots or the planter to know which seeds are planted where. The seed packet tells the number of days before the seed sprouts and is ready for harvest. Kids can study the growing requirements like how much space between plants, sun or shade heat tolerance, soil moisture, and planting depth on the seed packet. Seeds need oxygen in the soil, enough water, and warmth to sprout. Kids can place the seeds on half of a damp paper towel, fold the towel over the seeds, and place it in a labeled plastic sandwich bag in a safe warm spot. Checking every other day for signs of sprouting, kids can then plant the seedlings in moist potting soil. Kids can plant a backyard garden or herbs in a window by starting with organic potting soil and local organic seeds.
Kids Raised Garden Beds
Kids can grow a snack bowl in their raised garden bed, which is a wooden container raised above the ground yielding an abundance of produce. Kids can choose a site that gets 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, away from trees and high winds. Plants growing off the ground aren’t as easy a prey for pests and disease. Raised beds warm up quicker for earlier planting and extended growing season. Staggering the plantings of veggies is accomplished easier as kids can reach, rotate and harvest crops over an extended growing season. Kids and their parents can build a container with supplies from the local outdoor center. A four feet by five feet raised bed is a good size for a starter garden. It’s exciting for kids to choose delicious fruits and vegetables to grow for their friends and family. Think of what produce is hard to find, expensive to buy, but easy to grow, like herbs, lettuce, peppers, and broccoli. Kids can plant beans, squash, cucumbers, and grapes in a raised bed placed under a trellis for the plant to climb up, keeping the vines weed and water free. By training these plants up a trellis or a stake, kids can get an abundance of produce with less pests and diseases. Kids can set up a compost bin to have a place to put weeds and kitchen scraps. Kids can fill the raised garden beds with organic soil and compost from their compost bin, garden center, or local organic soil company. Kids can get earthworms to enrich and aerate the soil. To save time, money, and water, kids can install a drip watering system. By using a battery run timer, watering takes place at the best time of day for maximum absorption and minimal evaporation. Kids can place one crop at normal spacing, and then a second faster growing crop between the rows that harvests before the other crop grows fully. Kids can plant a new crop as soon as the first fast growing crop is harvested in the same space. Kids can eliminate row space between crops by planting low growing crops close together. Raised garden beds have proven abundantly productive, cost affective and assessable to kids. When kids spend twenty minutes a day with kid size tools in the backyard, they can create a beautiful edible garden for the whole family to enjoy. Kids can put a bench or table and chairs in a shady spot in the garden and create a comfortable oasis where they can discover beneficial insects, worms, toads, and birds. Kids with an organic backyard garden not only have access to fresh food, but also benefit from a sanctuary that restores them mentally, physically, and emotionally. Kids can hardly wait to try the healthy variety of tasty organic homegrown fruit and vegetables that they have grown. Gardening is a great outdoor workout the whole family can enjoy together.