6 Ways to Instill the Joy of Gardening in Your Child

JMJ 40  *Share your love of gardening with your child at an early age, and they will most likely want to continue.  If it is not a hobby of yours, you can begin together. Start when they are young.  Go to the garden nursery near you, and pick out some pretty flowers together, and some pretty pots, if you’d like. 

Ring the School Bell 40/180 days

Lots of stuff going on today…

All the troops were out in the backyard, my kids that is, as we feverishly spent 30 minutes  shoveling, pulling out weeds, and slowly sculpting the area for a new look to our backyard.  As mentioned a while back, we are participating in a Department of Water and Power incentive to convert our yard into more  water-wise choices.  The deadline to completion is 2 months.  Yikes!

Working in the yard is one of my favorite past-times.  It’s one of those activities where I can totally lose track of time.  In fact, I have been known to do so, so sometimes I do have to check in with the clock, so I don’t neglect my other obligations.  All three of my girls are involved to some extent in the yard maintenance, but Sarah is my backyard buddy.  She loves to see the end product of whatever projects we are working on, as well as enjoy time in the mostly-sunny outdoors.

Working up a sweat shoveling dirt, pulling out grass and weeds, planting, must have some health and emotional benefits.  And the end result is not only a more toned physique for yourself, but backyard or frontyard beauty to be admired by everyone, most importantly, you. I like to make it a part of my fitness routine.  The other part is mainly running around the house getting things done!

Sarah couldn’t resist putting a face on this tomato!

Vegetable gardening here has mostly been limited to a winter crop and herbs.  Without the proper irrigation, it is very difficult in the San Fernando Valley, to grow vegetables.  One day without water, and the plant will likely wither and die.  The winters are great to plant, however, and so we have enjoyed artichoke, lettuce, cilantro, basil, and swiss chard.  Pumpkins grow well here, as well, and tomatoes. We also love to plant decorative flowers and trees.  With a 1/2 acre yard, there is always room for one more plant I fall in love with at the nursery.

How to instill a joy of gardening in your child:

  1. Share your love of gardening with your child at an early age, and they will most likely want to continue.  If it is not a hobby of yours yet, you can begin together. Start when they are young.  Go to the garden nursery near you, and pick out some pretty flowers together, and some pretty pots, if you’d like.  Make it a group project, discussing the process as you go along.  The excitement of the project can be contagious.  Melissa started planting pumpkin seeds from the previous year’s pumpkins since she was about 5 years old, and it became quite a memorable tradition.  See the video.

(Melissa completely took me by surprise when she took this video at about 5 years of age.  It  joyfully conveys her enthusiasm of growing her very own pumpkin, which we later turned into pumpkin pie.  See feature photo above.)

      2. Another project to is to start a hummingbird or butterfly garden.  Find out what                plants these critters are attracted to and plant them.  In a short while, they will be              swarming your backyard.

     3. A fun project we did a couple of times, was to raise butterflies from the cocoon                  stage   and then release them.  Or raise silkworms, which feed on Mulberry leaves.            So much fun!  There is a great company, which I have bought from several times,                called Insect Lore, that sells caterpillars, cocoons, ants, ladybugs and more.  Visit                them at:


Rainbow Resource sells some of the Insect Lore products also, sometimes at a reduced price.


      4.  For older kids, make it a part of science. Do a unit on botany.  Or include                               gardening hours as physical education credits.  The nursery near you may offer                 some free gardening classes.  I know our garden center, Green Thumb Nursery,                   does.

      5. Include gardening as part of physical education credit.  This should be optional, as            I wouldn’t want to instill a negative attitude towards gardening!  Sarah loved the                idea of p.e. credit, but not the others.  If you do this, plan some goals and objectives            together so your child can see their progress as they are logging in their hours.

      6.  Look outside your child’s bedroom window for inspiration.  The window                               makes a frame to the great outdoors.  How would they like to enhance the view?                 If there is no backyard, maybe there a balcony available for a garden project.                     Right now, Sabrina and I are working together to improve her “window frame”.  We           have planted lavender and yellow yarrow, and are staining the wood fence to                     improve its appearance.  It has been a great mother-daughter bonding experience.

These are just 6 ideas.  Are there more out there?

What else about today, day 40?  I reduced the academic workload for Melissa and Sarah, in order to prepare for the impending Halloween party.   You may be wondering how my schedule is so flexible about academics.  If you are, then all I can say is the work does get done, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, and every one of my daughters eventually made it to college.  Yay!  In the moment, however, I did have my doubts!  We assembled minion mummy water bottles, prize bags, and a spider web craft.

The studios paid us our money for housing the bunnies, while our friends had a reality show makeover done to their house, as I mentioned previously.   Melissa, Sarah and I split the proceeds, $150 apiece.  Not bad, considering they added joy and humor to our household.  I actually do miss their antics.  Sarah socked away the money to save for a camera.

Sabrina gave me a little grief over misplacing her bag of Halloween candy from the trunk or treat.  I knew I put it in a safe place, which is not always optimal for finding things thereafter.  Reconstructing my steps three times in a futile attempt to locate the bag, I finally had a sudden vision of its whereabouts.  “The bathtub!”  I shouted.  Anyone use the second bathtub for storage?  It’s a great place in a pinch.  Close the shower curtains and nobody will know the mess that is back there.  Now you know my secret hiding place when last-minute company arrives.  Oops!  That sounds like I hide in the bathtub. What I meant, is I may stuff the clutter in the tub!

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette




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