If you know a gardener, or are one yourself, you know that gardening is more than just a hobby. For many, gardening is a form of exercise, a stress reliever and even a creative outlet! While the word ‘gardener’ may conjure up images of retirees, children, and their plates, can benefit from gardening too!
Studies have shown that children that garden are more likely to include fruits and vegetables in their diet. One study found that students taking part in both gardening and cooking classes chose lunches that were lower in sodium and fat, but higher in fruit. Young children that garden are also more willing to try new fruits and vegetables, and have a greater awareness of what fruits and veggies exist. The positive benefits of gardening carry through to adulthood, meaning healthier food choices are made when kids leave home.
You can bring the benefits of school gardening home by starting your own garden! Here are our tips to get growing:
- Keep it simple – A large garden with many different plants is great if you have the space and experience, but a few potted plants on your deck or in your window sill work just as well (most lettuce does well in pots, and grows quickly!)
- Assign age appropriate tasks – Planting seeds, digging, and watering all great ways kids of different ages can help! Fruits and Veggies – More Matters have even more ideas to get kids involved
- Add art to your garden – Let kids decorate plant pots with paint and foam stickers, or paint home made row markers
- Reduce, reuse, recycle – Use milk jugs to help you start your garden. Both plastic and cardboard milk cartons can be used for planters, and poking holes in the lid of a plastic milk jug is a great way to make a watering can!
- Try something new – You might be surprised to learn what you can grow in your area! I grew ground cherries for the first-time last year, and loved them! Kids love purple beans because they turn from purple to green when you cook them.
I hope you get a chance to try out your green thumb this spring, and grow together as a family! Let us know what you love to grow with your family!