Tips for a Successful and Enjoyable Gardening Experience
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• Look for lessons: Use gardening as a teaching tool, “but pick the lessons that won’t dampen children’s enthusiasm,” Bartholomew says. Ask young gardeners what colors they see and have them count plants, introduce elementary-aged gardeners to photosynthesis, and get older gardeners to teach you what they’ve learned in school about plants.
• Share: “Kids love to share their successes,” Bartholomew says. So have him give a neighbor a tomato, or get him to help make a meal from his harvest for Grandma and Grandpa.
Mel Bartholomew developed Square Foot Gardening as a more manageable garden that yields 100 percent of the harvest in 20 percent of the space. Bartholomew has since brought this method to schools and begun a global outreach initiative to bring the dietary benefits of his system to Third World countries. His book Square Foot Gardening with Kids covers every aspect of “SFG,” and includes fun activities and lessons to get the most out of your gardening experience.
Main photo: The Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing hosts spring, summer, and fall gardening sessions where young gardeners can get involved by planting vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers in the Children’s Garden.