140 Middletown – Lincroft Road, Lincroft, New Jersey 07738 Hours: Monday-Tuesday 8-5, Wednesday 8-6, Thursday-Saturday 8-5, Sunday 9-4

                                                                  

Why I Garden: Because My Grandparents Instilled the Desire in Me

Most of the time, the love for gardening isn't newly acquired after a person gets older. It begins at a young age when a child first glimpses the miracle of a seed turning into a flower or a tree producing delicious fruit and the ones who often show a child these miracles is their grandparents. This older generation of folks has so much knowledge of growing all types of plants that it is inspirational to the little ones that want to be just like them. Grandparents who want to continue to encourage their grandchildren to spend more time in the garden can try the following ideas:

Start a Bean Sprout

Beans are one of the easiest plants for a small child to learn to grow. Any dried beans can be used to start some new plants with, but kidney beans work the best because the outside color of them contrasts against the color of the roots, which makes them more visible. To get them started, have the child place wet paper towels inside several clear resealable bags. Then, they can put a bean into each of the bags. Seal the bags up, and put them on a windowsill for light. In two or three days, they should start to sprout. At this point, they can be planted out in the garden or in a pot.

Collect Sunflower Seeds

Small children often don't realize that the seeds purchased from the store came from plants, so one way to teach them about this is by having them collect seeds at the end of the season from sunflowers. They have large heads full of seeds that are easy to pull out. The seeds collected can be stored in a brown paper bag for planting in the next season or baked in the oven for a tasty treat. Birds and squirrels like them too, so they can also be added to feeders.

Plant Identification

Although they might not remember everything, children can start being taught the proper names of plants at a fairly young age. Repetition is the key. And don't be afraid to correct them if they use the wrong name. It will help imprint the plants in their memory.

Planting Basics

Pick some easy plants to grow that aren't too fussy or fragile, such as marigolds. Then, help the little ones plant them in their own small section of the garden. Each time they come over to visit, they can water them and pull out any nearby weeds. This will help teach them responsibility and more about the growing process. As the plants increase in size, they will also learn about the changes that happen in a plant's appearance once it reaches maturity.

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