Growing a garden is a great adventure.
Putting a seed in the prepared ground, watering
it, and then waiting and checking up on it until -- POP -- it springs up
through the ground.
It's like a kind of magic really,
how that tiny seed transforms into a seedling, and
then grows and grows until it becomes a full-sized, mature plant.
The kids who come to my garden delight in
getting their vegetables fresh from the source -- pulling their own
carrot out of the wet, sticky earth, washing it clean and then
chomping down! They seem to feel like they are taking part in the
magic, just by biting into this tasty vegetable that was a tiny seed
just weeks before.
But.. growing a garden is not only fun, it's
We can learn a lot in our garden -- how things grow,
what parts of the plant our different foods are, what jobs the
different insects have, what soil is made of and what it needs to do
its job well, and how different food tastes when its fresh
from a real organic garden where the soil is still rich and full of life.
A garden is also a quiet place to learn about
ourselves, and to feel our connection to living things.
In a garden we can remember to feel with our skin (the warmth of sun, cool
tickle of wind, and the moist warmth of soil), to smell with our nose, see
with our eyes, to feel with our hearts, and to listen to all the soft sounds
of nature -- the birds, bugs, wind, and so on.
In a garden we can remember that food comes
from the Earth, that we are part of the Earth, and that the Earth
needs us to take care of her, so that we can both go on living.
Find a place where you can plant a garden --
even if all you can find is one large-sized pot. And see what you can
learn, spending time, with yourself, in your garden.
Here are some useful links and articles to help you get started....
A great site for parents, teachers, and kids!
Ideas for gardening with kids at home or at school, plant
information, thematic activities, a Teacher's Resource room, a
registry of School Gardens, and an online store where you can fun and
interesting products for kid's gardening. Also features a Parent's
Primer [great for teachers too] that outlines how to get kids
started and how to keep them interested -- including
plants are best for younger kids.
Learn how to grow carrots. And if you don't' have a garden plot,
try them in a pot. Great for homes with small yards or a sunny
balcony. Plus, any school or care facility could add this garden
project to their outdoor classroom. The best part is, its both edible and decorative.
For even more fun, kids can decorate the pots with acrylic paints.
Succulents are a popular plant with kids because they come in so many interesting shapes and types
and they don't mind when young gardeners forget to water them. Plus, their low water and soil needs means that they can be planted in all kinds of fun and interesting containers. However... buying succulents at the garden store for your whole class,
or whole yard, can get expensive. So click through on
this link to learn how to propagate your own.
From one, many!
Lists which plants appeal most to which butterflies! Includes
pictures and fun facts.
Lesson Plans and Activities
The 1/100th Acre Farm
Children choose their seeds, plant them in the dirt of a shallow
container, and then add small rocks and other natural items for landscaping.
Let them pull from a collection of small toy figures to populate their tiny worlds.
Want a quick garden? Pick up a sheet of grass sod from
your local garden center. Instant grass!
Who doesn't love the magic of creating their own miniature
world? Here's a classic gardening project that needs very
little space and can re-purpose that old pickle jar or the big
plastic container you didn't want to toss out.
Lots of folks don't have room for a full size garden, or even small a
raised bed planting box. But does that mean they can't garden?
Check out this guide to gardening in containers to learn
the tips and tricks for growing in pots both large and small.
We all know that flowers are for smelling and only fruits and
vegetables are for eating, right? Wrong! While it's true
that many flowers would be bad for you ― nasty tasting or downright
poisonous ― there are others that are actually just fine for eating such
as the apple blossom, the rose, the violet, and the nasturtium.
Click here for more.
But of course do
check the list to see what is edible, and of course kids must know
to never gobble down something new without checking first with their
parents or teacher. Remember, it can be easy to confuse one type
of flower with another, so have an expert help you identify your find
before you sample it. Get familiar too with this
list of common poisonous plants.
Not all plants reproduce in the same ways. The spider plant produces
willowy stalks that sprout blossoms and then turn into tiny baby spider
plants. These grow larger until they are read to put down roots of
their own. For this activity you'll need to plan ahead by
purchasing, or growing, a spider plant with lots of "babies" ready for
harvesting and transplanting -- enough for each child, or team of
children. (Grades K-4) From Teacher Vision.
This lesson has students using observation and experimentation to think about
the different ways plants get spread from their parent plant to a new
location. Magnifying glass or microscope recommended. From
A terrarium is a closable glass or plastic planting container.
Terrariums are especially good for small plants that like a moist
environment. A fun terrarium project is to create a miniature
scene complete with plants, rocks, and other objects. Check
article for instructions and recommended plants.
This is a fun site for kids to surf to information about farm animals,
crops for food, science project ideas, and lots of fun games and
activities. Teens can check out the
AITC stands for
Agriculture In The Classroom
If roses are your flower of choice, this is THE website for rose growing information. Here you will find :
All American Rose Selection Winners, article of the month from
American Rose Magazine, arranging roses, Color & Symbolism of
Roses, Cooking with Roses, health and safety in the garden, tips on
growing, fertilizing, and rose diseases, how to find roses on the
web, and much more.
Burpee seeds have been starting gardens for 120
years! Visit their website to order bulbs, seeds, and other products
online -- or ask to have a free catalog mailed to you. While you're
there, check out their recipes and take a "3-D" tour of
their "test" garden.
The 4-H Children's Garden is a special garden where plants and children
and imaginations grow. It is so big, containing about 60 different
individual theme gardens! Take a virtual tour to see it and get
ideas for what to grow in your own garden. Did
you know that the four "H"s stand for "Head, Heart, Hands and Health"? Don't miss
their ideas for fun
ideas you can do with your garden or with plants you've collected
from other sources.
Here's a great place to learn about food webs, find links to great
websites about saving the environment and various endangered animals,
and to find exciting toys and
equipment for the young naturalist. While you're there, check
out our book offerings on related topics.
This site is packed with useful articles and
FAQ's about various plants and plant growing problems. Nice seasonal
focus highlighting the plants and activities you
be thinking about at this time of year. Also features a "seed swap",
information on useful products, a plant name finder, regional
reports, message boards, and a garden dictionary!
Whether you're planning a garden, have a toddler about to venture out
in your yard, or have just moved into a new home with unfamiliar
plants, you'll want to review this list of plants toxic to humans
(includes pictures). Be advised some are safe to have
in your yard as long as you can supervise your child adequately or
fence off the plant.