Dig It: Gardening Tips for Parents

It is more important than ever to get some quality time in with your kids. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by taking time to garden with your children. Whether you have several acres or a small balcony, there are ways to connect with your kids while tending to plants. 


There are plenty of benefits and positive outcomes when gardening with kids. 

  • Creates a sense of connectivity with the world and responsibility (an example is that only well-tended plants will flourish and even some well-tended plants will not flourish) which helps with resiliency. 
  • Instills an interest in botany.
  • Creates a time for reflection/mindfulness (screen-free) and helps teach patience.
  • Teaches kids about sustainability.
  • Can increase a child's health and boost immunity.
  • Kids are more likely to eat vegetables they picked than ones you bought at the store.


Here are ways to dig into gardening with your kids at every age and phase.


Sensory play, colors, tasting more fruits and vegetables. 


Give them gardening tools to investigate and emulate family members.


Give them their own tools and containers or small plots to grow what they want and take care of on their own (see our list of easy-for-kids plants).


Allow them full autonomy of the process, and ask them to consider yield, proper placement, water schedule, and so on in the style of a science project. Ask them to help any younger siblings, too. Have them investigate insects and other related biological assets in the garden. 


  • Allow kids to plant many different yield times to allow for instant gratification (starter plants that fruit quickly, annuals, perennials and more).
  • Mulching is important. It keeps the ground from drying out or becoming too hot for the roots. Mulching can be an opportunity for older children to get some energy out. Learn about mulching, weeding, and fertilizing here.
  • Make a sit spot in your home or balcony garden to allow for focused time.
  • Plants that are easy for kids:     
    • Flowers 
      • Marigolds
      • Zinnias
      • Nasturtium 
      • Sunflowers
      • Lily bulbs (these will grow with your child over the years)
    • Herbs and Vegetables   Tomatoes  
      • Lettuce (doesn’t do well in the heat, though) 
      • Zucchini 
      • Chili/jalapeño peppers (bell peppers can take all summer to mature) 
      • Jack-Be-Little pumpkins (these have vines and need space, but grow well)
      • Green beans 
      • Beets
      • Basil
      • Arugula


This is all great, you might be thinking, but when do I start?

  • Some seeds can be started as early as February, but more commonly you can start your plants in April.
  • Set yourself up for success by waiting until May to plant in the ground. Michigan can have late freezes—if we do get a surprise frost you can cover your plants with an old sheet. 
  • Create a schedule for fertilizing.
  • Getting kids outdoors reduces their total screen time, so even if you aren't gardening, try to make time for play outdoors.

E-books to Grow a Love of Gardening

This list of e-books will help you develop a love of gardening with your children. No matter the amount of space you have, you can teach your child about the wonders of gardening. Not sure where to start or want to try another approach? Check out one of these e-books!

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