When you picture a garden, you might imagine rows upon rows of green plants in a neat, picket-fenced section of ground. In truth, when gardening with children you don’t need a fence or even a plot of ground. Child-friendly gardening is small and can be done in some of the items just sitting around.
The Sandbox Garden
If you have a sandbox or sandpit in the corner of your garden or one that you find at a yard sale, you can use it to make a nice kitchen garden or vegetable patch. Punch holes in the bottom of the base of the sandpit and then place it in a sunny plant. Place the pit on bricks to help circulate air underneath. You can also just place it on the ground without bricks, however.
Add a layer of stones and fill with compost and soil to create a planting area. This will be your child’s garden and he’ll be responsible for watering it every day and taking care of it. Having the plants grow in something simple and familiar will just add to the fun of watching plants come up out of the soil.
Your child likely has quite a collection of play items and figures. Why not incorporate some of these into his own garden to make it extra special. Use an old trough or tray to start the garden and place the figures into the plants as they grow to make it extra special.
You can create a fair garden using bright flowers, rocks, and fairy dolls. You might make a miniature farm out of garden items or even a dinosaur park using ferns, rock plants and dinosaur models to position among the undergrowth.
You can create a beautiful moss garden with items you already have in your home and garden. Grab a shallow tray, perhaps the tray you put under a pot to collect extra water, and then place a thin layer of compost along the bottom.
Scavenge about the yard in search of mosses. You might find pieces of moss along the grass, between paving stones, on rocks and on trees. As you find moss, cut away a small piece and place it in the new moss garden. Arrange your pieces of moss to suit your individual style and add rocks with a bit of moss, bark, shells and other small items to the garden to make it visually interesting. Water your garden with rainwater you collect in a bucket in the backyard to see your moss flourish.
A Backyard Pond
Why not turn an old wading pool or sandpit into a small pond in the garden. Of course, this might not be ideal for families with young children, but older children can learn a great deal about plant and animal life in a pond environment just by watching the one in the backyard.
Pull your old sandpit, baby bath, butler sink or paddling pool into a sunny spot with some shade put rocks and stones into the bottom. Include some sand as well. Use some of the stones to build up a ramp on one side of the pond in case you decide to grow tadpoles in your garden pond. The tadpoles will need a way out of the water once they become frogs.
Fill the pond with water and allow it to settle for some time to help get rid of the chlorine before you start to introduce plants and wildlife. While waiting for the water to clear, you can find a pond in your local area. When you’re ready, head to the pond and collect samples of pond weed, including the roots. Or, if you don’t have an accessible pond nearby, you can buy a flat of mixed pond plants in a garden centre.
Position the plants in the sand and then pour a bucket of water you collected from the pond into the pond to introduce any number of insects who typically live in a pond setting. You might have lucked out and scooped up some tadpoles for your pond, or you can find some in a pet store. Introduce the tadpoles to the pond and let your children enjoy watching them grow into frogs.
A Wheelbarrow Garden
A wheelbarrow can make a perfect addition to a garden and help your children stay at almost eyelevel with colorful plants. If your wheelbarrow is on its last legs (or wheel), position it in a sunny spot, perhaps on the side of the patio and fill it with compost. Allow your children to plant as many colorful seeds as they’d like in the compost to create a beautiful, colorful addition to the garden.
Water the wheelbarrow occasionally using water sprayers and be sure it gets plenty of light. Soon your children will see the fruits of their labor as the plants come to life and the wheelbarrow becomes a burst of color. If you’ve a mind to, you can simply roll the wheelbarrow and it’s collection of color, anywhere in the garden, including the front yard or to the neighbor’s house!