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Open the Door & Introduce Kids to Gardening


introduce kids to gardening

Getting kids to play in the dirt would seem to be an easy thing to do. It’s their natural instinct as children to want to explore and experience everything. Plants, soil, water, and stones are like magnets for small children so it should be easy to introduce kids to gardening. Yet as they grow older in the world today they tend to gravitate towards a screen of some sort.  The focus tends to be away from nature and towards technology.  It’s nice to see the world taking more interest and caring about the environment. With this green movement, we are likely to see some great changes in the future.  It will, however, require a lot of people with biology and horticulture experience to help feed the masses. Not only with the volumes required but also with the healthy combinations of foods that can be locally grown for each community in each climatic condition.

What we all need to do is get young people interested in horticulture now, so that the foundation is built for the world of tomorrow.  We have seen a decline in all things horticultural for the last 30 years. There are seems to be few educational opportunities.  We have seen yards reduce in size so there is not much or any room for vegetable gardens. People are focused on making income to stay on top of their mounting bills to maintain their lifestyles rather than taking leisure time in the garden.   The contact with the garden is often out of the question. Because of the reduced interest in hands-on industries like horticulture, we may be out of luck in the future. A sad fact is that most of the people working in the horticulture/landscape industry in Canada have little or no knowledge of it.

My hope is that with the growing green movement we will somehow kick start a new interest in this old profession and spark interest and excitement in young people everywhere.      

Here are a few things that could be helpful in getting kids interested in growing things:

Take kids out into the wilderness on a regular basis summer and winter.

Take interest in local plants and wildlife like bees.

Find out what programs are offered at your children’s schools that teach or promote gardening.

Build a vegetable patch in your yard and assign a private plot to each child.

Take kids to your local garden center.

Grow house plants and get the kids involved in keeping them alive.

Get the kids to plant seeds of any kind in any small patch of soil every spring.

You may not create a world-changing horticultural genius but you may awaken a lifelong gardener that passes on the passion to their kids. 

Let’s get into the garden!

Ken Salvail

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