Gardening as a family is a wonderful activity. Encouraging everyone to work their green fingers is going to extol myriad benefits from the youngest to the oldest. The trick is to position gardening as a joy rather than a chore. Do that, and your whole gang will be clamoring to be outside, working your plot.
The Many Benefits of Family Gardening
There’s a lot more to gardening than having an aesthetically pleasing space to be in:
- Health: Gardening is no small undertaking. It can be relaxing at times, yes, but a great deal of gardening is physically exhausting. It helps build muscle through strength exercises and regularly raises your heart rate.
- Mental health: Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress, encourage relaxation, and lifts your mood.
- Education: Learning how the natural world works is a wonderful education. You can teach your family everything from how seeds turn into plants all the way up to photosynthesis and the wider ecosystem.
- Family time: It’s a family activity that’s a change from the norm in your own home. You’ve got everything you need within reach, and you get to strengthen family ties and bonds.
- Eat your work: If you grow fruit and vegetables, then you’re able to enjoy eating the fruits of your labor.
- Unleash creativity: Creating a floral artwork or designing the space together is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
- Eco mindset: Encouraging your whole family to have a mindset related to helping preserve the planet and nature is to be commended.
- Memories: You won’t remember every time you sat on the couch and watched TV together, but you will remember planting seeds and watching them grow.
Planning Your Garden Together
If you’re at the point of starting a new garden or renovating your current one, it’s time to make a plan. It might be tempting to leave this to the adults, but if you can involve the kids, they’ll feel more a part of the space when you can all use it.
The first step is to try and understand your space. Take some measurements of what you have to work with and begin to assess what gets the sun or shade. The amount of sunlight in certain areas will influence what you want to use certain areas for and what plants will do well there.
Then you can begin to pick plants. This is where kids will really come into their own. Talk about what plants need and what will work in your climate. Try to get a mixture of plants for adults, fun plants for kids (sunflowers always go down a treat), and some fruit and vegetables.
You’ll then need to work out your soil needs. If you’re creating raised beds, you might have your kids asking, “How much dirt do I need?” This is a good teaching point to talk about the differences between dirt and soil. That aside, a 4’ x 8’ raised bed will take around 32 cubic feet of soil.
Throughout the process, don’t miss the opportunity to sketch out some ideas and pull your creative plans together as a family.
Getting Everyone Involved
There is a huge range of diverse activities that every family member can get involved with. Smaller children and toddlers will love planting seeds, digging holes, and watering. Older kids can flex their muscles by weeding and helping with pruning/harvest. If you’ve got grandparents around, they can share their knowledge and show the kids how it should really be done. Parents, your role is to help orchestrate the whole thing and share the enjoyment with your family.
Once the initial renovation or creation is done, begin to think about what weekly tasks you can all do together. There is something to do every week of the year!
Gardening as a family is a wonderful experience. It’s great for the mind, body, and soul. You get the benefits of a wonderful garden, spending time outside, and you get to create joyous memories with your family.
- Involve the kids at every stage, including the planning stages.
- Plan to have a mixture of flowers and edible plants.
- Create spaces that everyone can enjoy, no matter their age.