The Cullens: How to get kids into gardening


Mark & Ben Cullen, Special to Postmedia Network

Gardening brings generations together.

Ben will fondly bear in mind starting seedlings inside the greenhouse as a teenager as tons as Mark is likely to do not forget the cleanup that accompanied.

There is no scarcity of methods to get youngsters concerned with gardening, and the significance of doing so has been more because of the digital global needs extra of our attention.


Emma Biggs is a child-gardener and is certainly one of our youngest role models. With her dad Steve Biggs’s help, Emma has a new ebook written specifically as a “youngster-to-kid guide” for buying Gardening, Gardening with Emma: Grow and Have Fun.

Emma, who is thirteen, started gardening in Grade 1, which gives her half a lifetime of gardening revel in to provide. She starts by explaining why children and grownups garden differently — youngsters want a place to play. Mark suggests that grownups have also to learn to play in the dust. However, that is for once more.

Here are a number of the inspirations we took from Gardening with Emma:

Kids want their own space. A child-sized area will do, but it’s far vital for children to feel possession over their corner or parcel of the yard. Not handiest does it permit children to discover the things that hobby them, such as mud pies and “crazy colored lettuce,” it teaches them responsibility by taking complete ownership to plant and protect their garden.

Fun plant hints on your first garden. Emma has masses of revels in fast-growing annuals like zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers, which are amusing to develop from seed and inspired her to locate extra specific types. She gives recommendations on how to grow these plants and seed starting commands and reminders for adults, which include the importance of mulch.

Eating your vegetables is lots extra amusing while you grow them yourself, or why now not attempt eating some of the weeds to otherwise take over your garden, along with dandelion, garlic mustard, and purslane. Emma likes a garnish of home-grown suitable for eating plants to go together with her salads, including nasturtium and bachelor’s buttons.

Bug collecting is lots of extra fun in the kid manner — with Emma’s instructions, you could build your very personal “computer virus vacuum” that allows you to collect insects for the use of your lungs. Fun, secure, and beneficial for defensive your flowers from the nasty bugs or taking pictures of precise specimens to examine.

Every part of your lawn may be colorful, including the veggie garden. Emma has excellent hints from purple tomatoes to yellow cucumbers. Emma recommends beginning your own flower stand for aspiring marketers, including the satisfactory varieties to grow and the way to tie a bouquet.

Gardeners are birders, and that is authentic of child-gardeners too. Emma does a fantastic task of explaining the difference among the birds’ styles you may attract for your garden and offers pointers on bringing them to your backyard. Plants inclusive of Tithonia can entice monarch butterflies. Pineapple sage attracts hummingbirds.

Gardening with the five senses is a novel approach and not one which we think about sufficient. Emma suggests planting a “sound” lawn, such as puffy nigella seedpods, which rattle whilst dried, gravel pathways for dragging your toes, and dried gourds for drumming and shaking. With new nephews, nieces, and a few grandchildren in Mark’s case, we’ve observed that children like to make noise.

Giant greens are all about questioning big, and Emma is aware of humungous zucchini and supersized squash. Kids are loopy approximately those monsters of the lawn, which are a feat of correct gardening and imagination, two things Emma has validated youngsters have a knack for.

Emma understands kid-gardeners from a first-hand perspective. She makes an incredible case to her peers for all of the proper motives: a love of nature, outside play, developing and having amusing. A concept from the following, next era.