Spring is here and it's time to get out of the house and into the garden. I've learned that most adult gardeners started their hobby as children. And the good gardening experiences we give our kids today become great gardening memories tomorrow. Hopefully, these five site picks will inspire your family (or your classroom) to put down your keyboards and plant something tasty, beautiful, or both.
"Composting is fun! It's also easy. Let's learn about how we make compost and how we use it to grow beautiful gardens." Learning how to compost was one of the very first tasks I took on when we moved into our big-yard house. Not only is it satisfying to create our own nutritious mulch for the vegetables and flowers, but it is also ecologically and economically sound. Kids (and parents) can learn how in this simple slide presentation.
Built by the National Gardening Association for both families and teachers, KidsGardening.com is my pick of the day. It offers great primers (see Parent's Primer and School Greenhouse Guide), searchable articles and FAQs, curriculum, and a free monthly newsletter titled KidsGarden E-mail News. For e-cards and beautiful floral wallpaper, jump over to sister site Garden.org (you'll find a link at the bottom of any page) and look for "Free Stuff" in the left-hand column.
From planning and planting your garden to maintaining it and entering your plants into competition, this site covers it all. Written expressly for kids, you'll find great advice ("Keep a Garden Journal to record how and when you worked on your garden and its results.") and step-by-step instructions. You'll also find a glossary to help with gardening terms from "annual" to "zone" and separate sections on growing flowers, veggies, herbs and shrubs.
"Take a walk around your yard and look for spots that have good sunlight, are easy to get water to, and aren't in the way of somebody else trying to have fun in the yard." My First Garden from the University of Illinois Extension is blooming with step-by-step gardening instructions for elementary kids, and the parents and teachers helping them. Best clicks are Garden in Unbelievable Places (how about planting in your old tennis shoes?) and a downloadable, reproducible Garden Journal template.