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Gardening with Kids - Reader Suggestions

Looking ideas on plants and ways to get children excited and hooked on gardening.  These suggesetions are from readers of the Proven Winners e-newsletter.

I asked readers of my Winners Circle e-newsletter to make suggestions for plants that could be used to get kids hooked on gardening. I mentioned Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus (the plant Dr. Seuss would have created!), large sunflowers and Hyacinth bean vines in my newsletter and asked for other seed started suggestions.  I think the whole process of a seed producing a plant is very cool to small children. I have the feeling it seems like magic, which is why I was looking for plants grown from seed. It seems selfish to keep the ideas to myself, so I am putting some of them here for everyone to enjoy.

Kerry

From Maryalyce S. in Michigan:

I think kids would enjoy planting seeds to grow Four O' Clocks. I know I always did as a child and still do.

From Judy L. in Virginia:

When my kids were young, I made teepee's out of either sunflowers planted in a large circle or runner beans planted in a large circle with supports. They also liked growing radishes. When they were older, corn was a good choice as were pumpkins with initials shallowly carved in them.

From Emily P. in Ohio:

My kids enjoy growing things we can eat, especially cucumbers, green beans and peas.

As far as starting seeds with kids, I strongly recommend using a container with clear sides so they can see the roots starting before the shoot. My 7-year-old loves starting seeds in ziplocs on a wet paper towel.

I also try to plant stuff that has big seeds, like the sunflower and bean, because bigger seeds mean bigger dicots, like pumpkins and nasturtiums.

A new thing we've tried is planting what's in the pantry. What does a lentil plant, or navy bean plant look like? This year, we're going to try popcorn.

As the kids get older, I let them choose a seed pack off of the display, and I let them choose an annual at the garden center. Then, we talk about what it needs and decide where to plant it at our house. I never would've planted a strawberry bed if not for my daughter, or discovered how well Osteospermums grow here, if not for my son.

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