Growing a family garden is a great way to teach your kids to be green. There is an endless variety of things to grow: veggies, plants to attract butterflies, native plants, flowers and herbs. Try a themed garden, like one filled with all things yellow or one that grows ingredients for pizza.
There is a type of garden to suit any family's lifestyle, and the greatest reward will be the time spent creating something beautiful with your children.
When planning a garden, remember to make it fun by including your kids as much as possible. They can help pick the spot, decide on the kind of garden, prepare for planting and tend their delicate sprouts. Watching a seed grow into a luscious vegetable or vibrant flower offers a unique experience to learn about nature. The teachable moments about caring for our Earth are boundless.
An excellent Web site for step-by-step instructions to get your garden growing, as well as for some creative ideas on gardening with your kids, is www.kidsgardening.org.
There is one activity that can make every gardening endeavor so much greener: composting. Composting reuses plant-based leftovers and turns them into nutrient-rich soil. By layering "browns'' (dried leaves) and "greens" (grass clippings or leftover fruits and veggies), sprinkling them with water and churning the pile around now and then, you will have followed a simple recipe to make your own compost heap. It is also a wonderful way to teach your children that a sustainable effort really does make our world a greener place.
To get your kids and yourself up to speed on how to compost, check out howtocompost.org. If you're feeling super adventurous and short on outdoor space or if your little ones love wiggly worms, try worm composting: redwormcomposting.com.
Whether you start a windowsill herb garden or a large vegetable garden, showing your children how fun and rewarding gardening can be will leave a lasting impression. So plant a seed in the ground and a seed in your child's mind on how to live a greener life.
This story appeared in the May/June issue of Go Momma magazine.