7 Tips to Help Kids Start a Garden on a Budget

PinExt 7 Tips to Help Kids Start a Garden on a Budget

My granddaughter is visiting from Texas so guess where we are spending some time? In the garden!

You may not have the room, live on an acre of land, but the suggestions below can help you even in a tiny area–inside or out.   

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Our  6 year old granddaughter

When Princess Gianna, as I call her, and I would talk on the phone we chatted about my garden before she came to visit from Texas–her home state.  Kids are inquisitive and when she arrived from the long drive she wanted to immediately go to the garden.  So we walked together and she was surprised to see all that was growing.  She even wanted to pick veggies that were not ready.  All she cared about was picking.  Being outside is magical with the beauty of spending time out in the sun, fresh air, the pretty garden and some veggies waiting to be picked.  Princess came at the perfect picking time.   

Sadly my tomatoes were hit by 3 heavy rain and hail storms giving us bruised tomatoes.  However together we watered the garden and picked what we could for that day. It is a natural way to share garden experiences with kids.  Maybe there is a future farmer before my eyes growing.  She left with several seed packets. 

Kids are eager to learn new things so when they are able to walk why not expose them and as they grow up they will hopefully be taking care of their own garden? 

I wanted to see if there were other curious kids out there who love gardening or could if exposed more to it so I asked my Zumba friends if I could take pictures of their kids holding my squash.  The kids loved posing with the squash. It was so much fun to see their smiles.  I have a million pictures of them to show, but look and see what I have below. 

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Isn't he cute holding that "gold" summer squash?

Here's 7 tips that can help jump start a kid's love for gardening on a tight budget:

1. What can kids plant…

Things like lettuce or radishes are very quick to grow and your child will see fast results in a short amount of time.  It's not even months, but for radishes they may see evidence of their planting within a week or two.  Carrots and beets take a little longer and can even stay in the ground and harvesting only when needed.

2. Involve the kids…

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Proud of the tomato

From the moment they plant, have them learn how to water.  When there appears to be weeds growing teach them how to identify them and remove them.  When it's time to harvest get the "kids" bowl ready for the harvest.  Get the camera ready for these amazing memories. 

3. What if…

There are times when the garden doesn't seem to grow. The seeds may be old, maybe you are getting too rain or watering too much. Perhaps they are not planted in the right lighting conditions or soil. If that is the case, and still have time to start the garden over, do that.  Teaching kids that sometimes we have to start over and that is okay.

4. Buying seeds…

I have bought seeds at hardware chains and at nurseries.  I sometimes can seeds half price and even current year.  Look and see if your nursery may have that. Some seeds can be soaked for 8 hours and then planted in the ground. They helps soften the shell a wee bit.  Not necessary but a trick. Squash is easy to start from seed but sometimes lacking time I purchase. 

5. Alternative to seeds…

Sometimes you may want to grow tomatoes.  They take a long time to germinate.  Peppers are slow to grow too.  For these plants I purchase plants from nursery.  I also look for eggplants.  You can buy cucumbers or start your own from seeds as they grow fast.  Here's one of my squashes. 

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Isn't she precious? My Zumba friend's daughter.

6. Lacking space to garden…

How about checking with your city to rent a space at a community garden plot? Sometimes they even provide the seeds.

Maybe you have some room, but not bunches? How about container gardening at home?  I love Earthboxes.  Cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes are some veggies I use my Earthbox for. 

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Earthboxes with tomatoes growing

Frugal – Budget Tip: Use plastic bag to cover dirt

How about an indoor herb box? Watch and see the fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley and chives grow.  Kids love harvesting. Sometimes they are not excited to water but till it's a garden. Use basil in making pesto, sauces or fresh salads.

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Herb box for outside or inside

See the basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary…yummy


7. Option to outdoor gardening…

Let's go indoors.  Have you ever gone to the store needing an ingredient and no where to be found?  I have looked for alfalfa or clove spouts at the health foods store and they were either out of them or didn't receive their shipment.  Searched other stores and same problems.  Now I have the solution: sprout my own. It may seem hard at first but after I show you how you will love to do this with a kid or if none around then be the "kid."  It really is inexpensive even if on a frugal budget.   Alfalfa on sandwiches and in salad adds an added beauty and taste. Want to learn more?  Coming soon. 


This post was a teaser to help entice you into the love of gardening. Are you ready? 


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Carol Giambri is an simple healthy living expert. She embraces the  back to basics healthy living, loves eating and writing on areas that impact healthy living.  From gardening, to worm composting, which is a new desire to learn more about, gardening, eating, aging, homemade cleaning products, eating edible weeds, coaching programs, speaking, writing, traveling, 2 time manufacturer, city transplant to the country living, writing copy (looking to expand her services), green/recycle talk, owning dogs for over 40 years and married almost that long, she brings together the joy of simply living to live.  She's your encourager too.  Carol plans to write several books on healthy living as well as a pet book where her heart still remains having seen so many go to heaven.

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PinExt 7 Tips to Help Kids Start a Garden on a Budget

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Bennett August 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

Carol, Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful tips!  This is something I can easily do with my son!  Thanks again!

Carol Giambri August 4, 2011 at 10:47 am

Jennifer, Glad these tips will help you and your son “play” together. No little kids here, but having fun as a “big” kid. Doesn’t have to cost a whole bunch either. I appreciate your comments. Made my heart “dance and sing” happy. Try finding recycled stuff…thrift store possibly?

michele August 4, 2011 at 11:04 am

Fun post and what great suggestions you have for luring little ones into the garde. Little do they know how much fun they can have AND how good it is for them to grow their own goodies!

pat August 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hi Carol. I too love it when the grandkids come over.  I have a tiny 'play' garden, but my grandson helped me pull the weed and it was fun to work together

denny hagel August 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

This amazing Carol!! Going to share it with my group!! Thanks!

Olga Hermans August 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm

So fun Carol, I am looking forward to have grand-kids. Your princess is precious, say hello to her form me ok?

Sharon O'Day August 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Wow, Carol, I sure wish I had someone like you to introduce me to gardening when I was a kid!  I had to wait until I was all grown up to be come a Master Gardener.  But nothing is more grounding … any anxiety flows right out of my fingers into that rich, brown soil!  Sweet article …

Rose Mis August 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Hey Carol … I just LOVE this article. I have to smile when I think about the gardening fun I had growing up out in the country !! Blessings always :)

Michelle DeMarco August 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I have been meaning to do this with my kids forever.  Thanks for a great article on how to grow food with your kids!  Lots of great ideas!

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:04 am

Michelle, So glad you found this useful and something you and the kids can do together!

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

Rose, so glad this brought a smile and memories to your younger days in the country. Growing up in a Kew Gardens, NY apartment I spent all my time at Forest Park. Never touched a seed or a plant back then. Thanks for your comments. Many blessings to you.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:08 am

Sharon, Thanks so much for sharing here. I was never exposed to gardening growing up in an apartment building in New York City, but glad I discovered many years back when I moved to Colorado. I’m not a Master Gardener like you, but do love playing with the dirt. I am obsessed seeing a seed become a plant. There is so much joy in seeing growth. The soil is very grounding. Even my dog loves laying in the dirt. Glad it was a sweet article to ya.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:09 am

Olga, I’m sure your day will come to being a grandma. Princess Gianna is really darling. She loves having pictures taken too and posing. Her 21 month old brother loves taking pictures and takes good ones too. I am not a picture queen. I will say hello to her when I speak to her on the phone–she left for home already. Sent her home with seeds so she can have her own herb box and other types of ground plantings.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:10 am

Thank you Denny for sharing these tips with your group. Awesome. Much appreciated.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:12 am

Pat, that is great our grandson helps with the weeds. It is fun to have a great helper and share plant “seeds” that can grow in him one day to be a master gardener. My grandkids that just left are far away–15 hours.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:14 am

Michele, so much seeing how my granddaughter loved being in the garden with me on her vacation here in COlorado. I do believe if you teach/train them up young they may depart from this for a while but always come back to fresh, organics right from the garden. Yummy. Thanks for your comments.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 12:15 am

Jennifer, glad you enjoyed these tips. I hope you and your son can enjoy gardening together as a mother-son team. What a great way to bond with your son too. I appreciate your sharing.

Solvita August 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

Thanks Carol for sharing the 7 tips! Kids like activities, and this is such a great activity for them to get involved in, very educational and full of fun!!! :) Nice pictures!

Beth Heilman August 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

What great ideas about how to get kids involved in gardening! Love this article Carol. Thanks for sharing your tips.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Beth, thanks so much for loving the tips and ideas for kids gardening. Super way to get the family involved.

Carol Giambri August 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Thanks Solvita for stopping by and commenting. Kids just need a parent or mentor to help them and they are off and running. Gardening is so much fun that it can even help calm a kid plus tons of fun. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

Deb Pilgrim August 6, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Carol, love the ideas you have to get the kids in the garden!  It's so important for them to be outside and enjoying the little pleasures of life.

Anne (Annie) Berryhill August 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

Cute stuff Carol and simple, doable tips. I am looking forward to having kids around again someday so we can do things like this!

Carol Giambri August 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Thanks Anne. I really got to enjoy my granddaughter recently visiting and we played in the garden. She was so thirsty to learn more and pick my veggies. I sure hope her parents will carry this interest forward. Hope you do have kids around fast.

Carol Giambri August 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Deb, thanks for your comment. Gardening outside is surely a great way to get the kids into the fresh air and play in the dirt if possible. Now for winter time they can still play bringing their pots inside and water things like herbs please eat. I have more ideas coming.

Carol Giambri August 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Thanks Solvita for stopping by with your great comments. Can you imagine how peaceful and calming the garden can be plus educational and fun? Loved taking the pictures. Maybe another obsession is photography besides gardening? Both obsessions are like meditating.

Alexandra McAllister August 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Carol,  Love the 7 tips.  It's so good to get the children involved in gardening plus it gets them outside.  Beautiful photos as well.  Thanks so much.

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