Hey, Sprout!

Gardening for kids
Author: Heather Boerner

Butterflies flitting through the flowers. Sunflowers stretching way up high. The garden is calling. Whether you’re a critter cuddler or a plant pro, spring calls for making the garden yours. Sweetpea tee-pees, worm watching and turning seeds into yummy treats are all things you can do with low risk of the bumps and bruises that can cause bleeds. With the help of Mom and Dad, some friends and careful planning, you can grow some fun.

Preparing the soil and yourself!

Some gardens have high raised planting beds with sharp edges that poke out and hurt you. Ouch! Garden tools can also be dangerous. Some, like the pruner and cultivator (that three-pronged handheld rake), are probably best left to the adults. So before you head to the garden, check with your parents first. Depending on how serious your bleeding disorder is, your parents may want you to infuse first or have you slip on some gardening gloves and strap on some knee pads. Ask if you can use the trowel to dig holes for seeds or yank up some weeds.

Make friends with the critters

Gardens are full of animals. You can trace long lines of ants back to their homes. But beware—some ants bite! Ask your parents if the ants are friendly, or if you should steer clear. And keep a lookout for buzzing bees, and ask your parents how to protect yourself from their stingers. Snails are not good for the garden, but they could be fun for you. Ask Mom to help you make slug and snail pools. Fill small plastic containers with water, place them in the garden and check back tomorrow. They’ll be full of snails and slugs!

Good tasting, good looking and good smelling

Best of all, gardens mean food and flowers at your fingertips—juicy strawberries, crunchy carrots and colorful marigolds. But watch out for thorns on roses and shrubs! If you get stuck—or if you accidentally do run into the side of the raised planting bed—be sure to tell an adult right away. That way, any burning, achy bleed can be stopped quickly!

Watch them grow

So grab the watering can and give those seedlings a soaking. Check back the next week. How many new berries do you see? How many new flowers can you count? You did that! Keep track and report back—Mom and Dad will be so proud. When that juicy berry is ripe or you have enough flowers to fill a vase, you’ll know it because, like you, they grew up in the garden.