by Megan Bittner
Now that spring has sprung (yesterday was the season’s first day, believe it or not!), it’s time to start planning and planting a family garden. There are numerous health benefits to gain from gardening, and it’s a great way to incorporate math, science, agriculture, and even art into your homeschool days. Explore these gardening tips and tricks, creative gardening ideas, and earthy experiments for inspiration before you dig your hands in the dirt and start developing that green thumb!

 

A Garden for Everyone

This gardening unit study includes language arts, history, geography, science, visual arts, reading resources, as well as 10 gardening themed coloring pages.

Check out this article for some great tips for starting your own family garden.

Discover 10 benefits of gardening with children from Mommy University.

Help your child create his own unique garden to care for.

These beginner-friendly instructions for squarefoot and raisedbed gardening can help you create a simple garden with inexpensive materials you may already have on hand.

Short on space? Try these brilliant ideas for creating a vertical garden that fits into limited space and offers a big payoff.

Hardy herbs can be grown outside in beds or pots, or indoors in pots and planters. Generally easy to care for and quick to mature, a windowsill herb garden can be an excellent starting point for beginning gardeners.

Start seedlings in eggshells for a cheap, earth-friendly, biodegradable, compostable, and nutrient-rich alternative to plastic seedlings cups.

Dictionary.com says that a weed is “any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted,” but this article on weeds suggests they have their place in the garden.

Refer to this vegetable planting guide from Urban Farmer to plan your gardening schedule.

This list of the best flowers to plant in Virginia can help you add some color to your garden.

You can add some organic pest control to your vegetable garden with these insect-repelling flowers.

 

Living Art

Creating a journal is a great way for students to document the lessons they learn. Your students can use the instructions on this page to create a plant journal. You will find reasons for creating a plant journal, the elements of a plant journal, a list of materials to use, resources on keeping a plant journal, as well as links to other blog posts on creating journals.

Check out this blog post from The Creative Vegetable Gardener for ideas on how to express your creativity through your garden.

These chalkboard pots are a creative way to keep track of seedlings, herbs, and other small potted plants.

These DIY seed packet letters from Birds and Blooms make colorful decor for your indoor or outdoor garden space and are a unique way to record the plants you’ve incorporated into your gardens over the years.

For some creative ways to upcycle your worn gardening supplies and use other upcycled materials in your garden, browse this list of garden items that can be recycled from Birds and Blooms.

Make one of these gorgeous DIY butterfly feeders to attract these colorful pollinators to your garden.

These beaded garden stakes from Crafts by Amanda are an excellent way to add sparkling pops of color throughout your vegetable garden and are simple enough for even young children to help create.

These painted rock garden markers are simple, inexpensive ways to add some organization to your garden beds.

 

Green Thumb Experiments

While this experiment will take several months, the results will be dramatic and your students will learn about making compost from waste.

Soil erosion can be a big problem; this experiment will teach your students the necessity of preventing erosion as well as prevention methods.

This garden in a glove is an excellent way to sprout seeds while allowing kids to watch the germination process.

Even if you can’t plant a full garden outdoors, you can still experiment with this simple indoor root vegetable garden.

This green onion-growing project is great for younger kids, who usually have shorter attention spans! The onions’ growth can be easily measured over the course of a week or two, allowing kids to see the results of their labors relatively quickly.

 

Interested in some more gardening resources?

Check your local library for some kid-friendly gardening books like these*:

Square-foot Gardening with Kids by Mel Bartholomew

Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner

Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy

Here a few more ideas for books that may inspire an interest in gardening and the joys the hobby can provide:

Weslandia by Paul Fleischman – a fictional and fantastical account of a young boy who uses gardening to develop a personal interest to its fullest extent, while inadvertently finding a way to deal with school bullies. Although not intentionally meant to do so, this book conveys the rewarding and valuable method of delight-directed homeschooling.

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart – a sweet picture book that communicates the transforming power of a garden.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney – another gentle picture book about the transforming power of gardening. It is based on the true life story of a woman who found her own way to make this world more beautiful. If you study the illustrations of this Caldecott winner carefully, you’ll find they also tell the story and may possibly draw in your non- or emerging reader and stimulate discussion.

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