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Gardening with Children 

Almost all kids love tinkering around in the garden playing with or eating mud! Are you, as a parent, exploiting this interest to the fullest, or do you just yell at him for soiling his clothes? Turn his 'destructive' behaviour into a constructive hobby. 
 

Responsibility

Needless to say, you will not be able to hand over the entire garden to your child at one go. Allocate a four foot by five foot plot, which should be enough for your child to grow a few vegetables, and let him tend to it. He should be wholly responsible for the plot. Of course, you could always help him out, and the two of you could look after it together, but remember to let him know that he's in charge and this is his plot. He would have to water it, weed it… all of which will only help make him more responsible.  
 

Patience

Not a lot of children, or adults for that matter, have patience. Gardening teaches you to cope with delayed gratification instead of the immediate kind. Most people want to work on something where the results are immediately visible … but that's not the way life goes. 

 
Education

Working in a garden will teach your child a lot about soil, manure, plants, flowers and seeds. His knowledge will increase tremendously. Don't forget, gardening is essentially a practical method of education. You could encourage him to grow different flowers, fruits and vegetables over a period of time, and you will be surprised at the amount of knowledge he accumulates within a few years of regular gardening. 
 

Environmentally conscious

Not only will your child's knowledge increase, but he will also become far more environmentally conscious. He will also learn to appreciate nature's beauty.
 

Peace - for you

Are your kids fussy eaters? Do they give you hell every time you try and feed them their greens and vegetables? Well, get them to pluck their own greens from the garden - and watch them devour it!  In addition, if you keep thinking up ways to keep them occupied, you've found it! Kids can tend to the garden for hours at a time. And wouldn't you rather your child be outdoors rather than watching television at home?  
 

Gardening tips

Soil: Start by digging out the soil with a small shovel. Break it up with your fingers to make sure there are no lumps in it. Remove the rocks and weeds, add some manure, water it and leave it for a day. Your child can start planting tomorrow. 

Lines: Draw out rows with threads, so you can plant seeds in line. Leave adequate space between seeds. 

Read up: Don't just randomly start growing something. If you don't do it right, your child may get discouraged and give up. Purchase a book on gardening - on growing flowers and/or vegetables, and read it before you start your gardening project. 

Growing potatoes: Purchase a potato with eyes. Let your child cut the potato into pieces, so that each piece has an eye. Then plant these pieces around 4 inches deep in the soil. If you don't have a garden, you could also use a large, deep pot to grow your potatoes. Remember, potatoes grow under the soil, so the planter has to be deep. Make sure that the plant is kept moist, and gets plenty of sun. The plant will start growing and flowering. The flowers will then fade out and die. Uproot the plant four months later for your own home-grown 'batatas'. 
 

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