Have you wondered how you can get your kids to be less hesitant to eat vegetables? How about letting them plant a small vegetable garden? Fountain Hills is an excellent place to grow food in your backyard nearly year-round.
Before you get worried about carving out a permanent space for raised garden beds, you might consider starting with a container garden. This allows you and your kids to try it before committing your landscape to the experiment.
Gardening offers tremendous benefits to both adults and kids. It gives you a good dose of natural Vitamin D, reduces stress, boosts mood and sense of well-being, and provides a bit of enjoyable exercise. It also teaches life skills in a practical, hands-on environment.
DELAYED GRATIFICATION & PATIENCE
Teaching delayed gratification is difficult, and some adults still haven’t mastered this valuable skill. Planting a seed and waiting for it to grow teaches patience and waiting better than any other activity. Even when they see the seeds sprout and the leaves appear, they still have to exercise patience to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Having a pet can teach kids about responsibility, but not everyone can own a pet. Some rental properties don’t allow them, some kids are allergic to them, and some parents feel too busy to bother with them. A garden also requires commitment and responsibility without pressure to keep a living animal alive. Kids can learn responsibility through watering, weeding, pest control, and other tasks. When they embrace the responsibility, they’ll be rewarded with the food they grew themselves.
GENTLENESS & COMPASSION
For some kids, it’s not always easy to calm down their busy little bodies and minds. They race through the house, jump over furniture, and make the dog bark. But when they garden, they learn how to use gentle hands to nurture something delicate. Being in the garden also connects them to nature more as they’ll notice new bugs, hear the birds, and watch tiny leaves unfurl. This interaction with nature can cultivate more compassion and appreciation for other living things.
If you’re not sure how to start a backyard garden, there are many great resources:
- Fountain Hills Community Garden: Become a Friend of the Garden to participate in classes and workshops, check out their website for great information, or rent a bed if you don’t want to or can’t garden in your backyard.
- Growing in the Garden: Angela is an Arizona Master Gardener with a breathtaking garden that fills her entire backyard in Mesa. Her website truly has everything you could ever want to know about gardening in Maricopa County, including great tips for container gardening.
- Square Foot Gardening Foundation: Learn the best method for growing a lot of produce in a small space. This method increases efficiency, reduces water demand, and dramatically reduces weeds.
- Gardening in the Deserts of Arizona: Mary Irish gives a great month-by-month guide for everything from vegetables to herbs to fruit trees and cactus. The information is specific to our area.