Gardening with children

by James Alexander-Sinclair

I think it is generally an excellent thing to try and get children to grow stuff - if only so that they understand how plants behave.

Teenager standing in a formal gardenI have three children - actually that is slightly misleading, as it may conjure up visions of little A-S toddlers trundling around with beaming smiles and sticky fingers. Sadly, those days are long passed and, at 23, 20 and 16, they are way past the cute stage and, though delightful if very many ways, can no longer be described as chubby cheeked.

I also have to admit that I did very little gardening with them when they were small. I tried a couple of times to get them to help lay bricks or weed but they were pretty disinterested: gardening was basically something very dull that Dad did rather obsessively. For my part, I vaguely remember being given a small patch of ground in my parents’ garden where I rather half-heartedly grew the odd limp marigold and dusty radish.

However, I think it is generally an excellent thing to try and get children to grow stuff - if only so that they understand how plants behave. Schools are now much more proactive in encouraging gardening clubs and planting up areas around the playground. The internet is, unsurprisingly, brimming with helpful resources whether you want to help your children to garden at school or at home.

For straightforward and attention grasping activities and advice try Gardening With Children.

For well written and amusing experiences of a gardening mother, try Dawn Isaac’s Little Green Fingers.

The BBC’s contribution.

Deb at Carrots and Kids has five children and still finds time to write a great blog, so fully deserves our awe and admiration.

My only small piece of advice would be to give them a good bit of garden rather than a shady bit of dry ground, and also don’t expect them to be that interested once they hit adolescence. By then there are other, more interesting, distractions than mulching the courgettes.

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Talkback: Gardening with children
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Gardeners' World Web User 23/11/2010 at 22:01

Tried to interest my son but he would have none of it. My friends' kids are the same. Internet, internet , internet, that's all they care about. Very sad. Then again, I had no time for plants and gardening until I was 26, so there's hope.

Gardeners' World Web User 25/11/2010 at 18:46

Such negative comments ;-) Matching shoes, only interested in the internet. I wearing none matching pairs of clothing etc and switch the internet off when Myself or my daughter has finished browsing, then it's back to the great outdoors. I've always spent my time outside so my daughter is to have a go at replanting a lemon tree this weekend (we live in NZ). Should be fun.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/11/2010 at 05:27

Such a warm post. Doing gardening chores with your children is both rewarding and fulfilling. I had my time with my children is setting up our pergola kit. It was fun and from then we spend time in maintaining our little garden once in a while.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/12/2010 at 22:53

Thank you, James. Bookmarked the lot. Roll on Spring as I have a ferocious little digger - child, not Antipodean, I should add.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:41

Why is your son wearing odd shoes? Could you not afford to get him a matching pair? Like you I was given a small area of the garden to grow marigolds, radishes - I've never liked them since.