Has gardening with children been put on the back-burner? With recent events, there is no better time to start instilling the love of gardening in children than now. The KSL Greenhouse Show spoke with David Frances, Director of 4-H/Youth at USU, on why this is important.
Why should we get kids back outside and gardening?
Get kids outside and unplugged
“You talk about mental health and right now everyone needs a break.. its the same for kids.” Maria Shilaos stated.
Teaching your kids to go outside and unplug is extremely important according to Frances.
“Getting them unplugged, getting them outside and playing in nature… that’s the best thing of all.” says Frances. “From this idea of unplugging and nurturing for something.. that is cool.”
Teach them to grow food
Frances also included that teaching kids to grow their own food has many benefits on its own.
“If they grow it, the chance of them actually trying it significantly goes up,” says Frances. “Teaching kids where their food comes from, so they understand that it takes more than 30 minutes to cook a pizza.. if you want peppers on your pizza its going to take a long time to get them.”
How to start?
Starting with simple projects is the key to getting kids interested according to Frances.
“Keep it simple, make it fun.” says Frances. “Gardening projects can be overwhelming, if you think about that giant half acre garden some people want to grow.. no lets not do that.”
“Some of the stuff I grow was a former flower bed..ripped out some shrubs and that’s where we started..” Frances stated.”It is manageable and doesn’t take the fun out of it.”
Easy plants to start with
Frances stresses that it is important to grow things that kids think are fun.
Here are a few examples of what plants to get started with:
“When you grow purple beans and you cook them, they magically turn green when you cook them in the water, and you can watch that transformation happen. That’s exciting,” says Frances. “Kids thing they are magic.”
“When kids see the sunflower is twice as big as them it makes it fun,” says Frances.
“What I like about peas is it is a quick return on our investment,” Frances says. “Kids are out there literally eating in the garden.”
“It is a harder sale with kids to eat but they will try them,” says Frances.
“One of the things we try to instill in youth is a sense of generosity,” “…to be able to take a bunch of radishes to grandma and grandpa… that’s what my kids do every year,” Frances added.
The sense of generosity and giving back to the community in a small simple way is power stuff and a great trait to instill in children with gardening.
What about Flowers?
There are so many fun flowers to grow and activities children can get involved with according to David Frances.
“You rip them out and you can pound those flowers into fabric and make a self design t-shirt or a banner, we have done that with kids before.”
Some other ideas are creating little cards and bookmarks that you can design with flowers. So much fun and creativity can come out of growing flowers.
This is a great time to start a project like this with corona virus and earthquakes surrounding us.. The KSL Greenhouse Show is to remind you to get in the garden and start instilling the love of gardening in children today!
Listen to the full segment for more fun gardening tips for children!
We are here to answer your gardening questions every Saturday from 8 – 11 a.m!
Follow us on social media!