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Secrets to Creating a Child-Friendly Garden

Secrets to Creating a Child-Friendly Garden

Some people make it look so easy. On late summer afternoons, blogger Christine Chitnis heads to her community garden plot to tend her vegetables—toddler in tow. “This part of my day is so idyllic,” she says. “Vik is such an easygoing soul, he is happy to eat some dirt and hang out while I fuss with my plot.” Here are five of her secrets to creating a kid-friendly garden:

Photographs by Christine Chitnis.

Tip No. 1: Let go of your expectations. Kids want to “help,” and that means there will be plants that get uprooted, herbs that get over-watered, produce that is picked before its time, and pots that get knocked over, says Chitnis. All of which is a good thing.

“By letting kids help, and giving them the space to get messy and make mistakes, you will nurture their love of gardening,” she says.

Tip No. 2: Plant vegetables and fruit that your kids like—and some they don’t.

“Planting produce that your kids love is a no-brainer, but try planting a few things they claimed not to like,” Chitnis says. “Once they help it grow, and pick it straight from the vine, they may change their minds.”

Tip No: 3: Set yourself up for success by laying the groundwork, so to speak, for success. Growing vegetables in raised beds “is the best idea, in my humble opinion—the soil is so rich and the weeds so few,” she says.

Tip No. 4: Keep a journal, recording successes (and failures) that your kids can page through with you during the winter months. It will also remind you what you want to plant, come next year.

Tip No. 5: Make it a family affair. “We all help in the garden and with the chickens,” says Chitnis. Kids love chores that involve shovels, rakes, and other tools, not to mention hoses and watering cans.”

Tip No. 5: Make it a family affair. “We all help in the garden and with the chickens,” says Chitnis. Kids love chores that involve shovels, rakes, and other tools, not to mention hoses and watering cans.”

Looking for more ways to inspired your burgeoning little gardener? Check out these two posts of Gardenista: Garden Crafts for Children: Build an Insect House and For Kids Only: A Hidden Garden in Brooklyn.

Read more: Children, Eating for Health, Family, Gardenista, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Outdoor Activities, Vegetarian, , , , , ,

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Gardenista is a one-stop sourcebook for cultivated living, a guide to outdoor design and gardening. Helmed by former New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gardenista features inspiration, garden visits, and advice for all things outdoor living, from patios and peonies, to tables and terraces. Gardens matter, and Gardenista celebrates tomatoes on the fire escape as much as rolling acres of green.


+ add your own
9:19AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

great tips

11:21AM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

good ideas

6:25AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Good to start it from childhood

10:39PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Sounds marvellous, gardens and children are a wonderful mix.

8:06PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

Thanks y niece loved help planting my garden this year and now is happy to help pick the spoils of our fun

8:34AM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

"secrets"??? tips or ideas would be better.

7:28PM PDT on Jul 18, 2013


3:40PM PDT on Jul 18, 2013

Thank you for the ideas. I hope to have a garden to share with my grandaughter some day. :)

3:15AM PDT on Jul 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing!

1:44PM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Thank you for good tips.

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