Early Childhood Gardening

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  • 1.  Digging Gardens

    Posted 04-23-2021 01:51:00 PM
    Hi gardeners,

    Some of you have mentioned digging gardens for your younger gardeners. I'd like to add a digging garden to my community garden and would love to hear more about what you place in your gardens, how you care for it, and possibly see some photos. Thank you in advance for your help. This sounds like something younger gardeners would love. Thanks again, Laura

    Lpt Trenty

  • 2.  RE: Digging Gardens

    Posted 05-04-2021 12:11:00 PM
    Hi Laura- so at our school, we garden in raised beds and our digging bed is just the last bed that we do not plant in so that kids who finish up planting fast can dig around while others are finishing.  Depending on the season and plant availability, we may or may not have it open as a digging bed all season long.  I don't think I have any photos because it ends up being just a raised bed and two or three plastic trowels--- although it would be good to try to take a photo some time so I could share the smiles on the faces of the kids as they dig.  They usually find roots from past season plants along with some grubs and other soil organisms.  The kids may also add in found objects like stones, sticks, pine cones, grass blades.... but we don't intentionally stock it with anything.

    Sarah Pounders
    Senior Education Specialist

  • 3.  RE: Digging Gardens

    Posted 05-05-2021 01:25:00 PM
    Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate these details. I'd like to add an area in our garden just for kids to dig. Laura

    Laura T

  • 4.  RE: Digging Gardens

    Posted 07-19-2021 11:43:00 AM
    My older students just had a tremendous amount of fun digging up potatoes we grew. I might plan that as part of a digging garden. I'd also be tempted to seed an area with "artifacts" and incorporate some archaelogy into the garden.

    Craig Montgomery
    Par Excellence Academy
    Newark OH

  • 5.  RE: Digging Gardens

    Posted 08-23-2021 03:11:00 PM

    Hi Laura - I manage 4 community gardens and in each one I left a bed as a children's garden. The space is available for children to dig, decorate, plant, pull up plants to examine roots, cut flowers, water, or do whatever interest them. Sometimes kids try to plant dead plants from the compost bin or build a little home for a gnome. 

    I place children's tools, little watering cans, gnomes, painted rocks, shells…an assortment of items in the gardens. Others are welcome to contribute and of course things do wander off or get broken, no big deal. We replace whenever we can.

    This is also where I plant mints for members to harvest as desired, toss extra bulbs or flower seeds, plant strawberry footings, etc. Anything that is safe to pick and smell and nibble. 

    So far the beds have been a hit! Adults have appreciated that kids have a space to explore and dig where they can't damage a desired plant. 

    I hadn't thought of burying things…definitely going to consider that. I have seen how much kids have enjoyed finding little treasures tucked into the mint and strawberries.

    for maintenance - there really isn't any. Occasionally I pick up a kids tool from an aisle and return it or cut back/dig out flowered mint. I am really glad we have these spaces. Just make sure to create vivid signs to indicate what they are for! 

    Aerin Brownlee