The third- and fourth-graders from Longfellow Elementary School in Spokane surrounded a big tube soil. The looks on their faces were skeptical. What do you mean there are potatoes in there?
Six sets of hands hesitantly dug into the dirt. All of a sudden, a hand brought up a round, red-skinned potato. Eyes got big. There are potatoes in there! After that it might as well have been the California Gold Rush all over again as they dug for the treasure. This is the joy of gardening with children. When their skepticism is overcome by the joy of discovery, it’s magical.
To garden with children, start with a raised bed or several large pots filled with good-quality compost or potting mix. If you start with ordinary dirt, you stand a chance of failure, and the children might think it’s their fault and that will shake their confidence.
Put the garden in a sunny place they can easily access to see what’s happening.
To decide what to plant, ask them about their favorite vegetables. This always leads to some interesting answers, some of which aren’t going to be practical. If the idea is far-fetched, break it down into manageable pieces. If they want to grow a pizza, then discuss what vegetables they like on their pizza. Tomatoes, onions, green peppers and sage are all easy to grow in a garden. This can be their pizza garden. This combination can also make a salsa garden.