For adults and kids alike, gardening can be a daunting task. Between the tilling, planting and constant weeding and maintenance it can turn into a pain in the back, literally. If you are not ready for large scale gardening, but would still like to teach your kids the value of self sufficiency and growing your own food, container gardening may be a great option for your family.
Container gardening is a lot less messy and so much less overwhelming. Weeding several pots is much quicker than weeding an entire garden. And, it’s hard to get bored watering when you only have 5 or 6 plants. To get kids excited about container growing, why not work together to create your own personalized pots. Personalizing the pots will create a sense of ownership that will make your kids more likely to keep up with the required maintenance.
What type of container should I use for my kid friendly container garden?
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The safest way to container garden is with food safe 5 gallon buckets. You can score these buckets for free by asking local restaurants. When the buckets are empty (sans potato salad and the like), they are just going to throw them away. You might as well save them from the garbage dump. If you are uncomfortable begging for buckets (or dumpster diving), you can also buy a brand new 10 pack of food safe, 5 gallon buckets, for a very reasonable price.
How do I personalize my food safe buckets?
Before personalizing your buckets, you will need to first drill 4 holes into the bottom for drainage. This will ensure that your plants do not die from root rot, which is caused from constantly sitting in standing water. For more tips on how to avoid root rot, visit Your Plant Doctor.
Next, you will need to use a rag to wipe the buckets down with rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will help to grab the dust and will dry quickly. Having a clean surface will ensure that your stickers adhere properly. Now that the buckets are dust free, it’s time to add the alphabet stickers.
As you can see I have one coral colored bucket. I tried many different ways to paint the bucket, including using plastic bonding spray paint, sanding my little butt off and finishing with a clear coat. But, despite all of my best efforts, the painted buckets continued to chip. I do not recommend painting them at all.
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What types of vegetables grow well in a container garden?
Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and kale, are an excellent choice for container gardening, especially since they can be grown in partial shade. Peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and parsnips are also good choices. The 5 gallon bucket is large enough to accommodate a wire support cage.
One of the best things about using food safe 5 gallon buckets is that you can move them around the yard as needed. You can even carry them inside to extend your growing season into the winter using a grow light. Happy gardening!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our wonderful activities for kids.
Daily reading helps to build early literacy skills and contributes of overall academic success. Look for these gardening-themed books in your local bookstore or purchase them directly form Amazon at the links below.
The Little Gardener, by Jan Gerardi
Planting A Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert
Gardening Lab For Kids, by Renata Brown