How to Introduce Youth to Gardening

How to Introduce Youth to Gardening

Cultivating plants can help enhance the long-term health of elementary school kids, by teaching youngsters the origin of their food and how to grow it according to an education initiative and program called Texas Sprouts. Exposure to outdoor gardening, nutrition information, and cooking classes resulted in a lower probability of pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions. By teaching kids how to grow and prepare their veggies, their intake of healthy greens is increased. Introducing children to gardening has many positive effects – encouraging healthier habits and better lifestyles, as well as health improvement, lower obesity rates, and the prevention of chronic diseases. Here are simple yet effective ways to initiate youngsters to gardening.

Adorable blond boy planting seeds and seedlings of tomatoes

Start with Small Projects

Small gardening projects for youngsters can be both enjoyable and educational. It is vital to start with modest and manageable spaces. It could be a corner of the backyard or garden, a balcony, or even a designated area with containers on a window sill. Schools may divide classes into smaller groups and designate tiny plots or containers for them to take care of. 

Another option is to take part in community gardens located in age-inclusive neighborhoods where kids can work alongside people of different ages. In addition to planting and learning about vegetation, youngsters can connect with people from all walks of life. These connections can build a great foundation for future relationships, promoting inter-generational contact. Given that at every age, individuals have different needs and abilities, interacting with them can only build solid communities.

Red, fresh radish in the hands of an adorable little girl.

Choose Fun Plants

Gardening must not become a boring chore. Unfortunately, generations Z, ages 10-24 years were born into a world of technology making it difficult for kids to focus says Dr. Taylor,  the author of Raising Generation Tech.  It is pivotal that you introduce fun and interesting species of things to plant. Brightly colored flowers, fast-growing vegetables, or plants with unique shapes can capture their attention. For example, plant radishes that can be harvested in as little as 3-4 weeks. Kids will enjoy the fast results and radishes come in various colors enhancing visual interest. Bush varieties of green beans can be ready for harvest in about 50-60 days and can be planted directly in the garden or in containers.

Other quick-growing plants include lettuce which can be harvested in 30 days allowing the children to see the results of their efforts and partake in a meal with fresh greens. Spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, and kale will keep youngsters engaged and excited about the gardening process, providing them with a sense of accomplishment as they see results quickly. Nasturtium, calendula, pansy, viola, chrysanthemum, borage, marigold, dianthus, lavender, and sunflower are examples of brightly-colored flowers that are also edible.

Funny little girl holding small gardening tools , standing in the garden

Ergonomic Kid-Sized Tools

The right gardening tools are vital for the efficient planting and maintenance of a plot. From shovels and forks to trowels and weed cutters, having the appropriate garden equipment and tools saves time, improves yields, and makes the gardening process efficient as well as enjoyable. Youngsters are smaller than adults. Therefore, it makes sense to provide them with kid-sized gardening tools that are designed to be comfortable, safe, and easy to use. These tools are not only smaller in size and have lightweight construction, but they also feature ergonomic handles to accommodate smaller hands.

Kid-friendly gloves are designed for children with a good grip and made from breathable, flexible materials while a small trowel with a rounded tip makes it easy to dig and plant. There are also mini rakes with short tines suitable for delicate hands to help with soil preparation and raking. Child-friendly pruning shears with safety features enable youngsters to trim and cut softer stems. Other tools that can help make the activity fun, comfortable, and easy include bug viewers, wheelbarrows, plant markers, kneeling pads, shovels, and watering cans.

Bee in the garden

Basic Concepts and Learning Experiences

It is important as well to explain fundamental concepts such as soil preparation, planting, watering, and weeding. To do these effectively, use simple language and hands-on demonstrations. Incorporate educational aspects by discussing plant life cycles, photosynthesis, and the importance of bees and insects in the garden. Studies show that hands-on learning is effective in retaining information and increasing attentiveness. Moreover, encourage youngsters to touch, smell, and observe the plants closely as well as experiment with different textures, scents, and colors.

Patience is very much needed when introducing gardening to kids as well as setting realistic expectations. Thankfully, gardening teaches this, alongside responsibility, and the importance of consistent care. You might want to encourage the children to keep a garden journal to document their observations, drawings, and notes. It can also help them develop their observational and writing skills. Be mindful of celebrating milestones and successes whether it’s the first sprout or a successfully harvested vegetable. Letting young people have a say in choosing the plants for the garden also gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility.

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Nurturing plants can become a fun and educational experience for youngsters. It fosters a love for nature and the environment as well as offers physical and mental benefits.

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The Garden Doctor YouTube Video

At Jung Seed Co, we strive to be your go-to guide for all your gardening needs. Our YouTube channel The Garden Doctor by Dick Zondag is where he provides gardening tips for all levels of gardeners. When you need reliable gardening advice, turn to the trusted experts at Jung.

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