Get the Kids Gardening with Miniature Gardening
By Janit Calvo
April 5, 2009
Miniature gardening is a great way to introduce gardening to kids, in a very fun way. The garden fairy idea is sure to win over the girls, and, with the number of small action figure toys out there today, there’s no reason boys can be left out of the idea either.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be as big (in a garden bed), or as small (in a container), as you like – you can even make one for indoors. Mini gardening is very accessible to all ages, and can be a valuable learning theme for the young gardener just getting started in the hobby.
A good place to start, if you have a backyard, is next to a shed, gazebo, or fence that the child can make into a little hideaway where they can feel like it is their own imaginary world. If there isn’t a man-made structure, use a big tree, a shrub, or a large rock to create a closed-in feeling – a cozy place where they can play with their garden, and toys, with their friends, or by themselves, in peace. Dedicate that spot in the garden that they can call their own, and they can easily water and tend to.
If you don’t have a yard, there are many container ideas to choose from – and they don’t have to cost much. Garage sales are a terrific resource for some inexpensive planters and pots (and for the garden miniatures, too). Other ideas include wooden vegetable crates, a basket lined with moss, any sort of wood box, or even an old wagon will make a great miniature garden on wheels. Just make sure whatever you use, has a hole in the bottom for drainage.
After choosing the spot, note what kind of light it will get and choose your plants accordingly. “Right plant, right place.” To plant a shade tree in full sun will just lead to disappointment, and may cause the child to give up easily. Explain this by looking at the plants and trees around your home, and note the ones that do well in shade and in sun (like beach plants versus forest plants, for example).
Start with starts! You can find young plants at the nurseries now, while it’s still springtime. Slow-growing conifers are wonderful, they are low maintenance and there are some for most soil & light situations. Let the kids be a part of this decision process so they can take ownership of them afterwards.
Remember to water when it’s dry, and most importantly, have fun.
Now go, get the kids, and get outside. I think spring has finally sprung!