container garden ideas for kids

When it comes to gardening this spring, just about anything qualifies as a pot. Old boots. Straw hats. Fish bowls. 

Children love everything about gardening - the dirt, the water, the worms. It's great stuff. But if you love your garden, you may not want them trampling your prize David Austin roses to get to their wilted petunias.

Make gardening fun for them - and safe for your hybrids. Give the kids their own little plot. Better yet, let them create their own wacko container garden with all sorts of weird containers.

A Few Good Container Possibilities Include:

Anything can be a container. It just has to be able to hold soil and allow excess water to drain out the bottom. We've used everything from old sneakers to work boots to plastic soda bottles cut in half and painted with flowers or butterflies or hearts. The more unusual, the more fun.

Here are a few container garden suggestions:

  • Old shoes. Sneakers, boots - anything with a closed toe - can work as a container.
  • Decorative cinder blocks. Herbs especially like these containers. They like tight places for their roots and the lime embedded in the blocks. You can set a bunch of them out to make a pattern and create a shallow garden.
  • Old toys, such as plastic dump trucks, etc.
  • Pocketbooks and totes. These are terrific for taller, larger plants.
  • Baskets. What did you do with the Easter baskets?! Find them if you can, and fill 'em with soil and let the kids loose with the seeds or seedlings.
  • Shells. A great choice for cactus and succulents.

Helping Kids Grow Their Garden

Now that you've chosen your containers, here's how to get started:

  • Wash out the container. Put holes in the bottom for drainage.
  • Fill the container full of potting soil. Leave around an inch at the top if you're scratch with seeds; about two or three inches if you're planting seedlings.
  • Plant seeds and cover. Or, plant seedlings and gently cover their roots with soil. Gently press soil over roots or seeds.
  • Water gently so you don't wash all the soil out. (This is not the time to power spray.) Wait until all the water has settled; then water more. Repeat until water drains out the bottom holes.
  • Check for sinking soil levels. If the soil level sinks down after the first watering, add more soil.
  • Keep soil moist for seeds. If you're planting seeds, you'll need to keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout.
  • Fertilize. Once a month should do it. 

Container Gardening Tips for Success

Here are a few tips to make your container gardening adventures ahead successful:

  • Smaller plants work better than big ones.
  • Succulents and cactuses are great choices because they don't require much root space and they don't mind drying out between watering.
  • If you cluster your containers, they will look nicer and be easier to water.
  • A layer of tiny pebbles (or aquarium gravel) on top of the soil will help keep the soil from washing away during watering.

Happy wacko container gardening!

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› Container Garden Ideas for Kids