I’ve been reading about children’s gardens and looking at a couple flower beds in my backyard that I inherited and wasn’t sure what to do with. I do not have a green thumb- quite the opposite really. So when I read about certain flowers and vegetables that are extremely easy for children to grow, I thought, WOO HOO! I can do this!
After doing a bit of research I decided to try sunflowers, cosmos (flowers), beets and beans. Beans have the added bonus of being big so it’s easy for little fingers to plant. They all need lots of sun- at least 6 hours a day, and water every few days so be sure not to plant just before going away on vacation!.
Below are the days to sprout for these seeds:
- Cosmos: 5- 10 days
- Sunflowers (Choco Sun): 7- 14 days
- Sunflowers (Claret- red sunflowers): 7- 14 days
- Beans: 7- 10 days
- Beets: 10- 12 days
I went into Sheridan Nurseries with this shopping list and walked out with a whole lot more! My daughter decided she also wanted to try radishes, turnips, spinach and these colourful Dahlia flowers. (She would have picked up more but we agreed on only 4 more packets.) We also walked out with topsoil, and later I went to Canadian Tire for a tiller for my flower beds.
I had also wanted to pickup some sort of netting to keep birds and squirrels from eating the seeds we plant but they didn’t have anything for it so I decided to take my chances. Since planting I’ve noticed two spots (the exact same spots) that have been dug up every day so hopefully everything else will grow just fine.
Make sure to follow instructions on depth and spacing when planting. You can involve your children by asking them where they would like each flower or vegetable to be in the garden (provided the sun/ shade requirements are met), and they can plant the seeds. I used a glove to mark out the spots where the seeds should go and my daughter popped the seeds in the holes and I covered them up. We planted in two flower beds, one at the back and one at the front of my backyard, and in a small planter. I figure at least one area will work out!
After I was finally done planting (my son and daughter were playing ball in the backyard while I finished up!), my daughter helped water the plants and my son watered the grass (I wasn’t about to let him flood the garden after all that hard work!! ). And to remind my daughter (and myself!) where we planted everything, I cut out the front of the packets, taped them on skewers, and stuck them in the appropriate spots. (I kept the left-over seeds with the planting instructions on the back of the packet.)
Materials: Seeds, topsoil, gardening gloves, watering can.
- $1.89- 3.99 per packet of seeds at Sheridan Nurseries (the flowers being on the high end and the vegetables on the low end). You can also pickup seeds at Canadian Tire.
- Topsoil: $3.32 for a 30 L bag at Sheridan Nurseries, $2.29 at Canadian Tire (25/ 30L bag- the receipt doesn’t say and I already threw out the bag).
- Watering can: $8 at Canadian Tire
- ~$15- 20 for gardening gloves (I already had these so I’m approximating the price based on what I saw at Sheridan Nurseries. I’m sure you can get them cheaper at the Tire).
- Pour the topsoil into a planter or flower boxes.
- If planting in flower boxes, mix the existing soil with a tiller, hoe or other gardening tool.
- If using a planter, make sure the water can drain either by putting rocks on the bottom, or using a planter that self-drains (container has an opening that drains into a tray).
- Scoop some soil out where the seeds will go, making sure to follow depth and spacing requirements on the back of the packets.
- Put the seeds in and cover with soil. Lightly pat the soil with your hand.
- Water immediately and every few days thereafter.
- Tape the packets to a skewer or something similar, and put it in the appropriate spots to remind you where you planted everything!
- If you want to keep it very simple and maximize chances of success, buy a self-draining planter so you can move it wherever you notice the most sun in your backyard and plant Choco Sun Sunflowers which are supposed to be great for containers. You can also keep the planter inside by a window if you’re worried about animals eating the seeds.
- Buy a fertilizer to use once the seeds have sprouted. I bought Green Earth’s Blood & Bone Meal 7-7-10 for $12.99.
What I Would Have Done Differently: Involved my daughter more at the beginning by showing her images on the computer of the flowers and vegetables that were easiest to grow, and having her pick them. Although I’m sure she would have still wanted to get more at the store once she saw how many more options there were!