Organic gardening with kids is fun and easy. All you need to do is model how the “work” is done and kids will naturally want to imitate you. They will happily join in once they are ready. Allow them to help as much as they are able to without forcing it and one day you will have an eager worker bee at your side.
My daughter has always been around us when we garden and was only able to help in limited ways until this season. Since she has been around it watching since she was young she is now able join us in the “real work” at 2 1/2.
Gardening is such an amazing art for children to experience. Luckily for all of us my mother is an amazing organic permaculturalist leading the way for our family. She has been a fantastic model for her grand-daughter just as her father was for me. I can remember him telling me I had the perfect little fingers for poking into the soil to plant seeds. I heard my mother tell my daughter the same thing when we started these cucumbers & melons. The apples don’t fall too far from the tree in my family 🙂
Starting Cucumbers & Melons
Cucumbers and melons do not like to be transplanted because their roots are easily injured and sensitive. So many people plant them in the ground where they want them to go. If your careful and only leave the plants in pots for 3-4 weeks you can successfully transplant them. The reason to start seeds in pots as opposed to in the ground is to get a head start on the season, especially if you live in a colder climate where your growing season is shorter.
1. Place 4 inch square pots (reused if possible) in potting trays with open bottoms so dirt and water can go through as opposed to pool around the pots.
2. Fill pots with organic potting soil. [Caution: do not use ordinary soil from your yard.]
3. Use hand broom to evenly distribute soil and brush off excess.
4. Water soil throughly. Make sure it is moist to the bottom before planting. Place finger in soil to make sure.
5. Write the name of each variety you’re planting on gardening tags. Allow your child to place each tag in back of each pot. This is a great fine motor skill that kids love to help with as you write.
6. Allow you child to poke holes to place seeds in with their finger. Make sure the holes are as deep as the seed is wide — not too deep! Put the holes diagonally at opposite corners of the pots.
7. Place one seed in each hole. Make sure you put the right seeds in the properly labeled pots.
8. Cover the seeds with soil and pat down firmly.
9. Water the seeds in and clean up.
When they are 3 – 4 weeks old it’s time to get them in the ground. See Organic Gardening with Kids: Plant Cucumbers to learn how to get these babies in the ground.
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