Grow and Enjoy Your Home Garden with your Family
One of the best parts of being outdoors is the sight and smell of plants. That rich scent of living plants --green leaves, cut grass, and flowers to name a few--is part of what makes a garden so calming and it is a great idea to instill the love of the outdoors in kids at a young age.
We can cherish our love of green things right in our own backyards by creating a space for indulgence and bounty. Your backyard is a world of possibilities for de-stressing and fun for the whole family: from relaxing in a hammock, to planting a fun collection of new things in your flower beds, to involving the whole family in fun gardening activities—your backyard can have it all. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Plant a Row of Local Flowers
If you have an unused planter or flower bed in your garden, it’s a great opportunity to spread some joy by planting flowers that do well in your climate.
For gardening with children, you can start with seeds of flowers you know grow well in the local climate. Look up the care instructions and the best planting times together and make sure to provide just the right amount of water-- then watch the fascinating growing process over the next few weeks.
If you are not interested in growing from seeds, then a local nursery should have flowers in stock that are right for your growing area and for the season. Choose a variety of pretty flowers, paying attention to light needs and spacing for the planters and then place them in their new beds or pots and watch them grow—beautifying your space.
Lay a Flower Bed or Garden Plot
If you don’t have an unused area, and are feeling very inspired, you can create a new area to plant. Be sure it’s safe to dig in the area you have chosen (watch for pipes). This is a great opportunity to play in the dirt and let your kids make a few decisions about where to plant—or just to give your space a new look. Use bricks/stones to line your new flowerbeds or define the perimeter of your new vegetable garden plot.
Dig down about two feet so that you can turn the soil. Place a weed liner and bury bricks around the edge to fully define your space, then replace the soil, add some with more nutrients if necessary and plant your seeds or plants.
You could also do container gardening and create mini flower and vegetable gardens inside large pots!
Grow Familiar Vegetables
There are many types of vegetables you can grow, but the best for kids are the vegetables they recognize and like to eat. If your kids like salad, grow lettuce and spinach. Tomatoes and potatoes are both great for first-time gardens and are delightfully edible when the veggies are ripe. If your kids eat them, grow carrots, snow peas, and a few pumpkins. Sunflowers are also beautiful, edible, a big hit with kids, and surprisingly easy to grow.
Raised beds are a great way to create a garden space if the ground in your yard is not hospitable. A raised bed doesn’t have to be high off the ground. 12-18 inches is usually deep enough—and a great height for kids to help!
Create an Herb Garden Planter
Cooking herbs are fragrant, pretty, and surprisingly easy to grow. Not to mention, delicious! Herb planters are a wonderful way to get your kids started with gardening. Kids love growing things they'll use, and there's nothing more rewarding than picking a fresh sprig of self-grown rosemary to include in the next family dinner.
Herbs tend to grow fast, and you can choose a selection of herbs that your family personally loves in home recipes. An herb planter can hold several varieties of herb--you don't even need a yard or garden—and they can fit right in to raised beds or as in a container if you have a container garden.
Practice Growing Strawberries
Strawberries are delicious, colorful, and surprisingly easy to grow. For people who want to grow food, it's often fun to start with strawberries. If you live in the right climate, you can grow strawberries in the yard, but many families grow strawberries in planters in the house. This makes strawberries uniquely suited to apartments, condos, and townhomes that may have limited gardening space.
You will love watching the berries grow and waiting until they're the perfect shade of red for a well-deserved delicious snack.
Grow Delicious Berry Bushes
You can create long-term rewards in your garden with berry bushes. Berry bushes are best planted along fence lines because they grow and grow and grow. Kids love backyard berry bushes, and they will be especially pleased because those berries are their very own, grown from sprouts. You can find young berry bushes sold that can be transplanted into your home flower beds as well. In only a few days, the first new leaves will grow and in the right time of year, soon your yard will be full of ripe berries.
Start a Compost Pile
Composting reveals the circle of life. Start collecting fruit rinds and vegetable cuttings along with a few sticks, dry leaves, and cut grass. Mix it with the right balance of green and brown and watch how rot transforms into dirt. This keeps compostable material out of the landfills and helps you keep adding fresh dirt to your garden.
Any home can start a compost pile or a small compost bucket. Up your game by bringing home a bucket of worms and showing your kids how to turn your compost into live compost where worms help turn the produce back into dirt just like they're supposed to. Not to mention, you have a whole bucket of new pets.
Make Wildflower Bombs
Looking for a fun craft activity for a rainy day, that can pay off later? Wildflower bombs each have dozens of wildflower seeds pressed into nutrient-rich balls that are dried. They can be molded into fun shapes, but the most important thing is that when you throw a wildflower bomb into a field, it will be full of flowers in a few months. All you need is seeds, compost, water, powdered clay, and a bowl to mix them up! These bombs are a great way to take your gardening enthusiasm out into the world and to make your local area a brighter place—but be sure to use seeds native to your area and don’t bomb private property, or protected lands.
Paint Birdhouses and Bird Feeders
Some people love to be outside to watch the wildlife. The birds that come to your yard can delight the family as much or more than the greenery. This leads to another popular garden project: Painting birdhouses. You can hang the houses or feeders in view of the back door or your yard-facing bedroom window for indoor delight as well.
You can buy the bird houses built and finish them with paint to bring your artistic creativity into your garden paradise or get the whole family together with some wood pieces and build your own for a truly personalized garden experience.
Gardening can be an essential part of human wellbeing. Make the most of your yard with your family and unwind surrounded by the beauty of nature. You can increase personal wellness both mentally and physically by spending more time outdoors. Embrace making your garden area your own. Plant the things you want to be surrounded by, making a beautiful, fragrant, and private leafy space. Hang swings and hammocks for relaxation and create a safe play area.
No matter what you choose to do in your garden, find a few reasons each week to spend time there.