Organic gardening with kids is simple. Kids learn by imitation and naturally want to do what the adults around them are doing. Get to work and they will too. There is no need to teach, only to guide. There is no need to ask, only to offer. There is no need to make them do anything… just allow them to help when they are ready.
My daughter has been around us gardening here and there since she was an infant. Last season she did her own thing while we worked. She didn’t help much but she was watching everything we did. This season she is only 2 1/2 but she helps from start to finish constantly asserting herself saying, “I want to do it!” We step out of the way, allow her to do it, and offer gentle guidance & assistance when needed.
How to Plant Cucumbers
Today we are going to learn how to put cucumber starts into the ground organically. This is the sequel to an article I recently posted titled “Organic Gardening with Kids: Starting Cucumbers & Melons.” We use raised beds but you can also plant them right into the ground.
Cucumbers don’t transplant well so many people start by planting them right into the earth. If you want to extend your growing season, and maximize your yield, you can successfully transplant starts that are 3 -4 weeks old. You can start them yourself or purchase them from your local nursery.
Prepare the Soil
1. Add Soil Amendments
- Bone Meal
- Sulfur pellets [We need to add these to make our soil more acidic but you may not — ask your local nursery for assistance.]
- compost or fresh organic soil [We just turned our compost so we used compost]
First sprinkle bone meal and sulfur pellets. Then add a layer of compost or organic soil. [Cation: do not just use dirt from your yard.]
We added the compost while my daughter was at the compost bin putting compost into her own wheelbarrow. We had already finished adding the compost but it is important to allow your child to contribute if they want to. We didn’t even know she was getting compost. She just copied what she saw her grandma do.
When she came around the corner with her wheelbarrow full of compost we acted like we acted like we really needed her to help us finish putting compost in. This is how amazingly confident and helpful workers are created. Just be a good model and they will follow — even when you least expect it.
I have provided an amazon affiliate link to this awesome kids Wheelbarrow. I earn a very small commission with no extra cost to you. My daughter loves this wheelbarrow and uses it for many things including gardening.
2. Cultivate the Soil.
- Use cultivators, garden forks, or a broadfork to turn the soil and mix in the amendments.
My brother works for an awesome company that makes and manufactures garden tools and electric tractors. My mom already has a broadfork, but my brother claims theirs are better so we put them to the test. All three of us used both and loved Valley Oaks Broadfork the best. And right now they are on sale! Click the link to learn more.
Please know that I am not affiliated with Valley Oak Tool Company in any way other than the fact that my brother is an employee. I was not paid, will not be paid, was not given free product, and will not receive a commission should you click-through to purchase. This is an awesome American made and manufactured tool company doing their best to do whats best for both our country and the environment. All opinions are my own.
3. Use Garden Rake to Even Soil. [Below Left]
4. Place Plants in Pots About a Foot Apart to Determine Where You Will Plant Them [Above right]
5. Plant cucumbers
Remember: cucumbers do not like to be transplanted and will not survive if not handled very gently. Be very careful not to disturb the roots while planting.
6. Water cucumbers in and clean up.
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…