Gardening With Children

lcertuche

Deeply Rooted
Joined
May 19, 2016
Messages
518
Reaction score
659
Points
167
Location
Arkansas
Two of my sons (15 and 12 years old) are homeschooled. In the spirit of teaching my children real-life skills I've decided to let them have a 4 X 8 raised bed to try their hand at square foot gardening. I want them to connect our meals, finances, and health to our food and I think this is an opportunity to do this. It will also make a good 4 H project if I can get them on board with this.

Last year's garden was a disappointment. It was the first year and I didn't have the time for much preparation. We did get plenty of summer squash, peppers, a few onions and eggplant. This year with raised beds and a fence to keep out the rabbits and deer I expect better results.

I bought my seed at the Dollar Tree. Some came up but most did not. I will try to spend a little more for seed this year. The man I bought my pepper and eggplant from did very well in poor conditions so I will probably use him again.
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,227
Reaction score
10,050
Points
397
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
I get most of my plants and seeds from a Mom 'n Pop garden center up here in this corner. I've had really good luck with the seeds and plants. They don't have the wide variety in choices I can get other places, but the seeds are fresh and the quantities I get for the price are great.

A lot of seed do great over a few years span, especially if you store them in a freezer or a cool dry place, but some need to be renewed each year, especially if they are not stored properly. Thinking about it, I'd have to struggle to come up with one that I have to renew each year.

Saving seeds can be another way to go and might teach your kids even more.
 

thistlebloom

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
16,473
Reaction score
17,405
Points
457
Location
North Idaho 48th parallel
Great opportunity to multi task the curriculum and as you said, give them some hands on real life experience. :)

They are certainly mature enough at those ages to get the big picture, especially of 'you get out what you put in'.

My two boys had garden space and we all worked in the garden together, they were about 4 and 8 when I gave them their spots. They didn't continue with much interest once they reached their early teens, but they got enough time in the garden to appreciate that it involves work to get a good crop.

Kid#1 is 30 now and has an interest in growing food. He's had a garden for about 3 years or so now. Kid#2 hasn't gotten there yet, but there's still hope!

One bit of advice I would give is to plan for success, with their first year especially. In other words, let them grow something fail proof, tomatoes and kale, green beans, lettuce etc. The first impression in the garden is huge.

I would stress that it's best to buy good seed from a respected company.
That will go a long way to making sure you have satisfying results.
I wanted to grow a lot of sunflowers for my neighborhood kids garden class a few seasons back, so to fluff out the expensive seed I had (from a well known seed company)
I bought the cheap packs I saw at a box store.
But when I emptied them out side by side there was no comparison. The cheap packets had far fewer seeds and they were broken and much smaller than the "expensive" ones. I thought I was getting a bargain, but in the end it wasn't cost effective at all.

Keep up the good work you're doing Icertuche, you're making a wise investment!
 

Carol Dee

Garden Master
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
13,014
Reaction score
20,602
Points
437
Location
Long Grove, IA
Great for the boys and you. A real Win-win. Keep us posted on their progress. I also have 2 sons. Son #1 is 36 and single. Only grows asparagus. :) Son #2 is 33 has 2 sons ( 9 and 6 ) they have a small but plentiful garden. The grandsons love their pumpkins. (Beware those puppies can SPREAD and take over lots of other plants!)
 

catjac1975

Garden Master
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
8,962
Reaction score
8,940
Points
397
Location
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
Two of my sons (15 and 12 years old) are homeschooled. In the spirit of teaching my children real-life skills I've decided to let them have a 4 X 8 raised bed to try their hand at square foot gardening. I want them to connect our meals, finances, and health to our food and I think this is an opportunity to do this. It will also make a good 4 H project if I can get them on board with this.

Last year's garden was a disappointment. It was the first year and I didn't have the time for much preparation. We did get plenty of summer squash, peppers, a few onions and eggplant. This year with raised beds and a fence to keep out the rabbits and deer I expect better results.

I bought my seed at the Dollar Tree. Some came up but most did not. I will try to spend a little more for seed this year. The man I bought my pepper and eggplant from did very well in poor conditions so I will probably use him again.
Home depot and walmart sell fresh burpee seed quite cheaply. Don't waste money on old seed. Years ago local bought seed was of poor quality. With new processing most seed is viable but I would draw the line at a dollar store.
 

Beekissed

Garden Master
Joined
May 15, 2008
Messages
5,054
Reaction score
6,798
Points
377
Location
Eastern Panhandle, WV
One way to get them interested in the garden is to grow something that is prolific and let them sell it at a little roadside stand. It doesn't have to be a big one and it would still work if they did it only on the weekends, but people are suckers for buying fresh veggies from youngsters. If you have chickens, add fresh eggs to the mix and they are golden....teenage boys love making a little pocket change as they always need it.

Things that grow well for just about anyone, can be trellised to fit into small areas and produce enough to sell in little baskets are cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, cukes, runner beans. All of those do well whether you use cheap dollar store seeds or not. Then they can grow some low growing crops at the foot of these trellised items~onions, carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and beets.

I'd show them how presentation is everything...all veggies prewashed and neatly packaged, arranged in an attractive manner. If you have a spare strip of ground on which you could grow some zinnias, these make great cut flowers to add to the roadside array. They are sinfully easy to grow, the seed is cheap and you can save seed on those easily for the next year. They are bright and beautiful...always a big seller at weekend farmer's markets.

You have only to look at Pinterest for pics of cute ideas for small roadside stands/displays and then have the boys scavenge for pallets in order to construct it. People LOVE quaint things like that. They like it crisp and clean looking, with little baskets they can carry away....you can find all manner of small baskets at Good Will for $.50-$1 and you can charge more for the basket of produce because of it. Yard sales are an even better place for small baskets...can often get them for 10-25 cents each.

Come fall I'd place an ad in the locals about young teens wanting any free apples available...you'd be surprised as the number of people who have apple trees in their yards and feel the fruit falling each fall is a nuisance, especially when they mow. Have them go pick and offer these apples at the roadside stand as well.

Another thing that will sell and you'd be surprised...little bags of composted chicken poo. City folks will buy anything and they love that stuff for their flower gardens but don't have a source. I've traded a bag of chicken compost for a fall crop of oak leaves, neatly bagged,mulched and waiting for me to haul them away~90 bags of it. Use your chicken feed bags to bag it up and it's even more quaint for them and costs you zip, zilch, nada. Sew the top of the bags closed with some jute twine and put a cute tag on it. People will tell their friends about it.

You could even have some homemade lemonade at the stand...cheap to make, easy to sell. If you sell eggs there, don't forget to have a few framed pics of the prettiest hens you have sitting over that part of the display...have names on the frames. ;)

Teach them how to market their wares effectively, talking about the organic produce , fresh eggs and natural fertilizer, etc. It can all be a fun project for them if done right. Don't forget the small American flag hanging off the stand. ;) People are hungry for a small slice of Americana out there.

Don't know if 4-H still has this, but when my son was in it, he was able to get a $500 agricultural loan to start a small business for his 4-H project. He started his own lawn mowing business....bought an old John Deere and utility wagon with his money, made a great deal of money, paid back that loan and even helped me get the family car fixed with some of his wages. He was 14 that summer.
 

Nyboy

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Messages
21,365
Reaction score
16,241
Points
437
Location
White Plains NY,weekends Lagrange NY.
A big seller at road side stands are started tomato plants. Guy down the road sells them every year from a card table in cans he saves all year. Has a cash box where people make their own change.
 
Top