Once your kids start planting again this spring, they may need some help remembering what they planted and where it is. Of course, you can use labelled popsicle sticks or plastic markers, but these labelled vintage spoons from Monkeys Always Look are a great idea. They add a little class to the garden, are durable, and easy for kids to use.
You can search on Etsy to find different sellers of garden markers such as these. I saw a handful of shops marketing them, and you can usually pick the labels you want. A set of four will cost around $20.
I have been wanting to buy one of these mobile garden containers from Food Map Design for some time. The product is a few years old and has long been featured in Dwell Magazine, but the containers are finally coming down in price. And now with the holidays, you can get them for 20% off with free shipping.
The Food Map containers are environmentally friendly and made from all sorts of recycled material, but the design is top notch too. It looks sleek, is practical, works well in small spaces, and manages water efficiently. The growing container has a special rippled bottom that helps water drain evenly but also retains water to maintain soil moisture. You can see the design description here.
There are two versions of the this container for sale. One is the taller adult size, but there is also a shorter one that is great for kids. It stands a little over 23 inches tall, which is a perfect height for children. And that’s what I really like about this planter: kids can take ownership of it. They can plant things at their own height and move it around as they wish. Of course, being movable also lets you manage sunlight better too.
With the 20% discount, the planter will still cost $119, but when you consider that a good quality garden container will cost $50-60, it doesn’t seem that bad. There’s no better time to think about spring planting than in the dark of winter (that’s called optimism up north), and it is always good to plan ahead when getting kids involved with the garden.
I’ve been thinking about buying a dwarf Meyer lemon tree for the house. I used to have a lime tree several years back, and I think another citrus tree would be a great plant to have around for kids. There is just something magical about seeing citrus trees grow bright colored fruit.
Sure, kids don’t usually care for the taste of tart lemons, but I think this is even more of a reason to get a lemon tree. They can appreciate lemons in a different way before their taste develops. Meyer lemons are also sweeter and less acidic, so if there is one lemon that might appeal to kids, this might be it.
Raising a fruit tree is also a great lesson on growing food and a nice change of pace from regular veggies. During the winter months you can also teach about pollination. Since there are fewer or no bugs in the winter, you can pollinate the tree yourself using a paint brush. I think that would be a great activity to learn about plants and nature.
When buying lemon trees, try to buy a tree that is 2-3 years old. They will cost you about $40-50, but will also provide a better start for flowering and bearing fruit. There are many sites on the internet that sell dwarf Meyer lemon trees and other citrus plants, so shop around. Four Winds Growers, however, seems to have good prices and also offers winter shipping for $5 extra. Other growers only ship at certain times during the year.
Of course, you will also need to learn how to care for the fruit tree, especially if you reside outside the growing zones normally associated with citrus fruits. But that can be the fun part too. There are many resources on the internet to give guidance, and if you choose the right tree, it can be a great household plant. And by the way, kumquats are also easy to grow and make good house plants.
Lee Valley Tools sells a nice six-piece colorful garden tool set for kids. The set is in bold primary colors and made from glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene. They are strong, won’t rust, and don’t scratch surfaces like metal tools do. The set includes a wide trowel, four-pronged cultivator, weeding fork, narrow trowel, two-pronged cultivator, and weeder. Each of the tools is around 8-9 inches in length. I think this is a nice looking set, would appeal to kids, and at $8 this garden tool set is a good deal.
I personally like to get my gardening kit ready in the winter time so that I can start right away when spring comes, and these hand tools will be perfect for my daughter to help start seeds indoors. I also ordered a raised-bed garden kit that I am going to assemble during the winter.