Grow a Future Gardener

You don’t have to wait until spring to get your kids involved in gardening! Some easy-to-do tips from Ron Christie and John Forti, from

Grow a future gardener

It’s never too early to begin growing the next generation of gardeners.

With spring rapidly approaching, Ron Christie, program coordinator at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and John Forti, curator of historic landscapes at Strawbery Banke, have some great tips to offer on planting a garden that is easy for a child to maintain.

“They say the average child today can identify less than 10 plants and animals,” said Forti. “So, getting a kid engaged in their own garden is huge in my mind. It’s nice to start them with plants that are easy to handle and grow.”

An herb garden is a good place for any kid to start because they can be done in a small place and are easy to keep up.

“For example they can grow chives, which can be done pretty much year round, indoors in the cold and transplanted outside when the ground is warmer,” said Forti. “They are good in salads and to cook with. Also, look at favorite family herbs, one that may carry a cooking tradition. Mint will grow like crazy and kids relate because the taste is easily recognized; it’s like toothpaste.”

Forti said the trick to getting kids interested in a garden is for it to be easy and to choose plants children can relate to.

Christie said the UNH Cooperative operates programs in many New Hampshire schools as part of its effort to get more children involved in gardening.

“Container gardens are probably the easiest for kids to undertake their first time,” said Christie. “A 2 by 8 prepared bed is certainly easily handled. Kids can reach into them with hardly any effort. Start with almost any greens; spinach, lettuce, kale and the Asian greens. They all grow extremely well and the kids see more immediate effects because most of them germinate in about one week. They can plant seeds heavily and thin them out as they start to show.” Read more…

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