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Gardening with children

I’m not a gardener. In fact I’m not even interested in really trying to garden. But I would quite like a nice garden that looks like a garden rather than a paddock.

driving the tractor toy

At the moment ours is a great place for playing in, has some (flukily) nice bright flowers in the wall (fast growing children’s flowers that we planted the seeds of last year, and have come up again…my type of gardening).

wall flowers

In the past we’ve had flowers planted in our muddy/rocky area to the side of the house, but they were too much hassle, needing replanting and bringing in for the winter. I need no hassle.  I love how the cloves come up year and year again – no idea where from as none were planted there.

cloves flowers

But I do want to get N interested in gardening (I hoped Granny & Gramps would train him up so he could just take over our garden for us, but that’s not looking like it’s happening!). So we’ve resorted to seeds and pots that I should be able to cope with. I say should, because last year we tried a strawberry plant, and this year, rocket…both failed to get past the sprouting stage. And I’ve also managed to kill the Gerbera plant that N gave me for mother’s day.

But we’ve tried some tomatoes this year. They’ve been flying…and have taken over our kitchen window sills. Thankfully we have 2 aspects with large window ledges but even so, it’s like a jungle.

jungle of tomato plants

The tomato (and rocket, but we’ll forget about that one) plants started off in those little pots you can buy from supermarkets. A pot with a small circle of compost that you add water to and it puffs up to fill the pot. You just put the seeds in, water a bit, and next thing you know they’ve sprouted at speed. N was very excited about the compost growing, so much so, that the seeds were rather overdone when he planted them.

tomato plants

On the whole, he was more interested in watering…not the plants, just his cosy coupe and tractor. Give a child some water, and it’ll never go where it needs to go.

pouring water
N’s way of filling the watering can…from his water bottle
washing the cosy coupe

After the tomatoes started sprouting, we then thinned them out a bit into different pots – instead of 1 pot, we now have about 10 and could probably do with more than that.

tomato-plants growth

I’ve been watering them each day as where they are is a bit inconvenient for N to reach. Hopefully when I work out what I need to do with them next, I’ll get N involved. He likes spooning compost everywhere, from one pot to another.


We’ve also got some sunflowers that N planted. Again, in a little mini plastic greenhouse. We just had to plant the seeds, pop the pot back in the ‘greenhouse’ and leave, watering occasionally. What’s great about these seeds, is how quickly they grow which means N does show some vague interest in items that he started off by planting.

Within a week the 3 seeds had grown higher than the greenhouse, and we’ve had to use cocktail sticks, and now pencils to prop them up.

sunflowers growing

The next stage is to plant them outside. I’m not sure if they should be outside in the soil (best place is going to be up against our fence, but that means digging out a bit of grass to get them planted. Or in a larger pot. If the latter, there’s a danger that the dogs might run off with the pot, unless it’s a huge and heavy one. I also need to track down some canes, so hopefully Grampy has some in his garage.

I have to say, I think I’m more excited about our planting than N is. Mainly because I suppose he’s still just seeing plants but no fruits or blossoms yet, so hopefully once they’re planted out of their current pots, we’ll have something to harvest or a pretty sunflower to look at and measure.  Gardening with children’s definitely more interesting than doing it alone, but keeping the child interested is quite difficult.

What have you planted with your child?  Have you any tips for us on easy to grow and maintain plants?

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  1. I dont mind gardening but I hate that I cant actually grow anything lol. I find it annoying to go through all the potting and seeds, planting, etc to get it started and everything is awesome for the first week and than BLAH! The kids love to garden and they are way better than I am at keeping stuff going.

    1. My gardening ability is very similar to yours. We’ve lost 3 sunflower plants to presumably slug, and another 3 died before planting out. The tomato plants are the only thing still growing but I’m not sure they’re progressing much more. It’s great having your own veg, but it’s more effort than I want to do.

    1. I think it’s an inbuilt thing, children and digging. I was hoping he’d be keen on watering, but he’d rather water his toys than the plants. Obviously takes after me.

  2. Though my son is a little too young to appreciate the ‘growing stuff’ side to gardening, he’s really into watering the plants. And moving soil around (whatever rocks their boat, eh).
    One thing you could try is some herbs, as they’re easy for a toddler to learn to harvest. I remember my mum sending me out into the garden for chives or basil, and I plan to do the same with M when he’s old enough!
    Glad to have found your blog through #sharewithme

    1. Oh yes, watering. That’s N’s favourite part. I have to keep the watering can far enough out of reach otherwise the window ledges would be soggy permanently.

      We jave wild chives in the garden already, and used to have some herbs in small pots. I should have been on the ball, and taken the pots from my mum’s as she had some great herb tubs. We do have mint in the front garden, so I can send him out for that though.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. The garden is one o those areas we are kind of doing something about and kind of ignoring – it’s great that N gets involved!

    1. We ignore here. All I need is the OH to get out the tractor and dig a border by the fence, and that’s it. I can cope with the rest. I just begrudge having to spend my spare time doing it, when he’s not helping either.

  4. We dont have a garden currently, and are in the midst of house hunting in order to get one! Tomatoes and sunflowers will def be on the agenda as soon as we do, at the moment we are limited to growing cress in egg shells!

    1. You can’t beat cress in egg shells though. Although it’s not really something that toddlers are fussed about eating.

      Good luck with the garden/house search. I’ve always been lucky in that even when house sharing/renting, we always had gardens.

  5. I’m not a gardener either and it was part of the deal of moving house – if it had a garden it was his responsibility. however, I can see the health benefits to being outside and moving around. The marigolds we planted last year and didn’t grow have appeared. Inside we planted some seeds B was given as presents and they are on the window sill of the utility room and growing very well, but would have benefited from thinning out a while ago. B is most interested in planting and looking at pretty flowers, she is not very interested in the bit in the middle.

    1. I’m with B on the pretty flowers and initial planting. Don’t mind getting my hands dirty, but the remembering to water, maintenance, and what to do when, I have no idea. Ideally I want to win a competition to get someone to landscape it – well, put in a border, and maybe a tree or a proper fence, and a vegetable raised bed, and that’d do me.

  6. We love growing veg with the kids, George particularly likes strawberries, tomatoes, salad, french beans – items which are easy to harvest. He loves watering too:) If only he would try a taste of them!!! I suggest french beans, easy maintenance and can be grown in pots – a bit late late to start from seed now but I am sure you can get plants in the garden centres.

    1. Hmm, beans might be worth doing. His Gramps grows runners. Pots are a problem with the dogs around though, unless we could get some proper planters that they can’t run off with and destroy.

  7. I haven’t tried to garden with my two yet except for the little help of throwing dirt here and there when I did the landscape in our back yard. Sorry wish I could advice what’s best to plant but I know I can’t wait until my two are older and plant fun things. I used to do it with my mom all the time. Look forward to seeing what you are growing!! LOL Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  8. I’m not a brilliant gardener but the kids do have fun planting and digging. We’ve some sunflowers growing and will soon need to plant them in the garden.

    1. Sunflowers seem to be the go to kids plant, but I can’t remember ever having grown some as a child myself. Maybe because my mum wasn’t a gardener either!

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