Toddler Friendly Gardening

Toddler Friendly Gardening

Toddler Friendly Gardening

3 years ago, I never would have believed that I would have a child and that BABY would have her own garden.  Parenting is eye opening in so many ways and this Spring, I learned that my 2.5 year old can handle her own garden!

Related Pages: Make Garden Markers, Bird Feeder Craft

Whether you have 10 acres or only a back patio, you easily create a TODDLER GARDEN.

My top choice for a toddler’s first crop:  POTATOES!

 

Potato Plant in Our Garden

Potato Plant in Our Garden

 

Potatoes are hardy, plentiful and practically foolproof!  They grow quickly and can be harvested early (“new”potatoes) or left in the ground for larger potatoes.  This way, you child can provide food for the family over a longer period of time and let’s face it, potatoes are DELICIOUS!

Kids’ Gardening Materials & Techniques:

  • Seed potatoes
    • Now a quick note on potato seedlings.  For the simplest & cheapest toddler garden, you can use any ole potato growing a sprout.  HOWEVER, it is best to use disease free, certified seed potatoes bought from a garden supply store.  Using grocery potatoes or saving potatoes from last year’s crop will likely weaken the plants every year through easily transmitted plant diseases.  With that said, a few potatoes in a corner probably won’t hurt anything!  There’s a reason people call  me the “Lazy Green Mama”:)
  •  Garden area:  either a small, sunny spot of open ground or a large barrel
    • If using a barrel or large bucket: (ask for discarded food-grade buckets from your local bakery/deli!)
      • Drill a few holes in the bottom and along bottom sides for drainage
      • Place 2”of gravel in the bottom for drainage
      • Top with about 6”of dirt
    • If planting in the ground, it is recommended to plant potatoes in a long trench and back fill with the dirt as the plants grow.
Adding dirt as the potato grows

Adding dirt as the potato grows

    • Plant the potatoes with the sprout pointing UP.  Cover with a few inches of dirt and water gently (ahem…maybe your child can handle this…mine, not so much!)!  Place in direct sun and water about every other day.
      • Fortunately, potato plants have large green foliage, so it should be easy for your toddler to identify weeds and gently pull them out of the dirt.
      • As the plants grow, you can either harvest your small potatoes or keep covering the plant with soil to encourage more growth!
      • Once your plant is about 5”tall, add more soil so that only the tip is showing.  Continue this until the plant yellows and wilts… time to harvest!
Adding even more dirt as the plant grows

Adding even more dirt as the plant grows

  • Small watering can
    • We like to give our toddler a large bucket filled with water so that she can fill her watering can by herself.  Remember to never leave your child unattended around water!
Potato watering and trampling (Editor's note: Dogs are good at trampling, too!!)

Potato watering and trampling (Editor’s note: Dogs are good at trampling, too!!)

  • Small hand shovel (however our child prefers to use her hands for planting and weeding!)
    • We prefer to give our toddler REAL tools whenever possible.  There are a lot of great resources for child sized real tools (check any montessori supply company)
    • Sandbox shovels also work great

 Other great FIRST crops that are easy for toddlers and kids to grow in their garden:

  • Strawberries
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lettuce

Please leave a comment sharing your toddler garden plans, triumphs and mishaps!  We’re in this together 🙂

 

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About the author

I'm a mama to two beautiful girls. I'm married to a (wanna-be) farmer and am a rather lazy partner in the homestead life. Professionally, I'm a school counselor, but I'm rockin' the stay at home mom life these days. It's a blessed life.

View all articles by Julie Kosker

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