The Q&A Archives: Novice Gardener With Child

Question: I am gardening illiterate and my five year-old daughter has expressed an interest in gardening. I would like to plant something with her but have no idea what. What would you recommend? I require something simple, easy and low-maintenance. Thank you.

Answer: Choose things that are quick to germinate and grow and/or have sensory delights for children, such as radishes -- the seed germinates quickly and you can harvest them in 20 to 25 days. Kids love to pull them out of the ground. There's an Easter Egg blend with round radishes in an assortment of colors. Sweet peas are extremely fragrant and pretty. (Soak the seeds in water overnight for easier germination.) Sunflowers and hollyhocks are magical.

You might want to start with transplants while the seeds are doing their thing. Try bedding plants such as lamb's ears, which are soft and wooly. Pansies and Johnny-Jump-Ups are easy to grow from starts and their little faces are fun. Chocolate mint is easy to grow and smells wonderful, though you should plant any mint in a container in the ground, since mints are very invasive. Marigolds and cherry tomatoes are easy and prolific. If possible, go to a full-service nursery with your daughter and look at the plants. Let her choose something that she likes. Most bedding plants are fairly easy to grow and the nursery should be able to steer you in the right direction. Good luck!

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