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9 kids' gardening projects
Grow a pizza garden
Grow a pizza garden. Plant tomatoes, peppers, herbs, garlic, onions, and spinach. For even more fun, create a round garden, divide it into slices like a pizza, and plant a different ingredient in each slice. (If only you could find a pepperoni plant!)
Create a vine-covered teepee
Create a vine-covered teepee. Gather several 7- to 8-foot-long sticks about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Bind them together with wire about 10 inches from the top. Form a teepee and drive the bottom ends into the ground. Secure partway up by wrapping with thin willow rods or wire. Plant quick-growing vines like beans or clematis next to each stick. Soon your kids will have a shady hide-out!
Grow a sunflower fort
Grow a sunflower fort. Plant tall sunflowers close together in a square or circular shape large enough to create fort "walls" for your children. Leave a 2-foot space for a doorway. The sunflowers will quickly grow taller than the children, creating a wonderful secret fort! Bring in a picnic blanket or tiny table and chairs, and let the fun begin!
Contain their excitement
Contain their excitement. Container gardens are perfect for kids. They can just sit down on the patio, scoop dirt into a container, and add their favorite seeds or plants. Each child can create his or her own container garden. Try kid-friendly vegetables like cherry tomatoes and carrots, or let them choose flowers in their favorite colors.
Plant a "Three Sisters" garden
Plant a "Three Sisters" garden. Native Americans planted corn, beans, and squash together. Plant corn on top of a foot-tall mound of soil. When it gets about 6 inches tall, plant pole beans around the middle of the mound and squash around the bottom. The beans put nitrogen into the soil, which the corn needs. The corn acts as support poles for the beans, and the squash provides a living mulch.
Go BIG (or small)
Go BIG (or small). Kids get a kick out of vegetables and flowers that are super-sized or teeny-tiny. Plant dinner-plate dahlias, mammoth sunflowers, long pole beans, giant pumpkins, or walking-stick cabbages that grow 7-foot-tall stems. On the flipside, try baby beets, Bambino egg plants, tiny Parmex carrots, mini squash and pumpkins, and cherry tomatoes.
Welcome butterflies and hummingbirds
Welcome winged friends. Cosmos, zinnias, verbena, fuschia, and cleome are easy-to-grow annuals that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Butterflies are especially fond of butterfly bush and purple coneflowers. Bee balm is a hardy perennial that hummers find hard to resist. Hummingbirds are particularly attracted to red-hued flowers like geraniums, petunias, pineapple sage, and impatiens.
Get crafty! Kids love crafts, and it's so fun to exhibit their artwork in the garden! Let kids paint their own pots for a colorful container garden. They can also create fun plant markers with popsicle sticks. Stepping stones are a perfect project for kids: pour plaster or cement into a mold or oiled cake pan, and let kids add shells and pretty rocks, handprints, or whatever they like! While they're at it, have them create a welcome sign for the garden gate!
Take note. Encourage kids to create a garden journal. They can keep track of planting, sprouting, and harvest dates, plus note the kinds of insects they find on and around their plants. Include information on watering and the weather. They can draw pictures of the different stages of growth, and include photos of themselves with their plants. For high-tech journaling, help your kids create their own gardening blog!