Having a family garden where the family works on it together can be a great family tradition. OR it can be a touchy subject amongst the kids or even a spouse if it’s not handled well.
I can not tell you how many people, including my husband, talk about family gardening with utter disgust. It’s quite funny, to be honest. I will admit that I was raised in a family that didn’t allow a whole lot of complaining and he was. Sssssooo there is a bit of difference in how we both approach work we don’t want to do.
Buuut if you don’t want that to be true for your family let’s see how you can have a family garden that is a fun activity for everyone. Cool?
When Gardening With Family Presentation Matters
It’s all about how you present it to your family and what you require them to do.
Yes, it’s great physical activity and all that. But not even adults want to hear how a chore is going to cause them to get out of their comfort zone and do hard work. So why would you expect kids to give a flying fart about that?
You have to present it in a way that will get them interested. Does one kid like to eat? Show them the things they could grow and eventually eat.
Does one kid like animals? Bring up something they could grow and feed to their animals. Think about what will get there attention and present it in that light.
To Alow And Out Or Not To
Now maybe you don’t want to let this be an option and that’s totally ok too. Kids need to realize that not everything in life will be fun.
I remember when I was a 4-H leader and the kids were not enthused about being there. So I would ask them what do you want to work on and nothing is not an option. Sometimes I had to push them hard to pick something they didn’t want to do because we were not going to sit there and do nothing for the whole meeting.
Sssssooo, don’t start a garden and expect everyone to love it if you know some of your family members don’t love the outdoor space as much as others.
Is it going to be easy to push them along all summer? Probably not. But you have to decide which is better. Letting them have an out or teaching them to push through something they don’t want to do.
Include Them In The Plans
Including your family in your backyard gardening plans creates the opportunity for your family to work together and enjoy the harvest.
Plan out the garden space as a family. Let everyone choose their favorite vegetables, herbs, flowers, and even the funny things that a kid picks out that seem a little useless.
You can guide them and give them a few choices if you know they are going to be the type to pick something that won’t grow in your area then obviously don’t waste money unnecessarily but giving some choices will help them feel a part of the process.
Let Them Choose Their Favorite Tasks
If you have chosen to let working in the family garden be an option (which is totally fine) consider this.
Let Them Choose Their Least Dispised Task – Let everyone choose the chores they wouldn’t mind doing or “hate” the least. This is what my mom did when it came to house chores. That was the best thing ever when it came to getting us to do what needed to be done. They don’t have to love it but maybe one likes pulling weeds whereas another prefers watering or looking for veggies ready to harvest.
Alternate chores – Make a list of all the chores that need to be done and let people alternate. One week someone gets this chore and the next week another person gets to do it.
Now when it comes to things that need to be done like watering and weeding maybe try alternating days. This way everyone takes part in chores that are not always the most fun.
Pick a time of day when everyone gets to go out at the same time and do the gardening together. It can be pretty annoying when you are doing hard work on your own and you have to be the one to go out in the heat and pull weeds.
The attitude (including your own) in which everyone comes to participate in this new family tradition will affect how much people are willing to do.
You can choose to come to do garden chores with a crummy attitude, furrowed brow, and tight shoulders. Making it harder to work.
Or shift your attitude and feel your body ease up making it much easier and less painful to do the work.
I promise it makes a difference.
Make It Fun
Make this quality family time fun. Let the mood be playful.
Let them choose what type of food they want to make out of the harvest they helped grow.
Find fun activities to do around the garden that can be done with everyone. Things like having a garden journal or DIY crafts are some of the best ways to make this new healthy lifestyle fun. Get everyone their own garden tool kit like the one below.
Kit Includes Garden Shovel, Hand Shovel, snake tung Forck, spray bottle, garden rake, and several other Gardening Hand Tools
Benefits Of Gardening
Remember that the benefits of family gardening might seem great to you or like something that you need to do to get in shape… But DO NOT present these ideas to your kiddos or really anyone you are trying to be willing to jump in with you.
But with that said here are some physical benefits and effects of gardening.
Sometimes Gardens Fail And That Teaches Grit
It can feel like the garden has to be perfect and able to produce enough fresh vegetables for our family to last the winter. But the truth is sometimes they fail. And you know what? That’s ok too.
Letting a kid who is adamant about getting a plant that won’t do well in your zone and allowing them to see what happens will be a huge learning lesson.
Show them how to use those problems and learn from them. Teach them to be problem solvers and how to stick to something even when it doesn’t go quite the way they had hoped the first time.
Gardening As A Form Of Exercise and creates mental peace
Aside from the obvious benefits of growing fresh food that’s healthy for your diet, gardening is a form of exercise. Digging, hauling debris, and creating a hardscape is a wonderful form of exercise.
Now I HATE exercise in the traditional form of going to the gym and using all of the different pieces of equipment. I need a distraction.
That is what I love about gardening is it doesn’t feel like intense exercise. It’s also a great tool for stress relief.
No matter how crazy your mind is, once you get into the garden and start working. The noise in your mind fades away. It’s also a great way to work out problems you need to think over.
Gardening together as a family can keep you all fit while creating a sustainable food source for your dinner plates.
Gardening With Family Builds Character
Being committed to gardening takes a lot of effort and stick to. Sticking it out and managing a garden requires the family to tend to the needs of the garden. In the same way, the family pet must be fed and watered, so does the garden. Gardening builds character by staying on top of weeding, watering, and harvesting.
It builds confidence and a good type of pride by showing your family the payoff of their hard work. AND it also teaches the whole family to work together to solve problems even with something is frustrating and not going the way you planned.
Gardening With Family Teaches Secondary Skills
Preparing, planting, and growing a garden are great activities that produce specific skills but there are secondary skills that come from gardening too.
Once the food is harvested, cooking and preserving food is just as important as growing it. Families can learn together how to cook, can, freeze, and dehydrate food for use all year.
Great Books For Gardening As A Family
Some of these are my absolut favorite and I have great memories with some of these books even though I was older when we found them.
This book is such a fun read and has amazing tips to get kids interested in gardening.
- The Family Garden Planner: Organize Your Food-Growing Year •Helpful Worksheets •Weekly Tasks •Expert Advice – See On Amazon
- My Gardening Journal (Quiet Fox Designs) Organize Your Gardening Life: Set Annual Goals, Chart Garden Design, Keep a Record of Your Work, Track Crop Performance – See On Amazon
When gardening with family, choosing the style of garden, what to plant, and how to enjoy the process is a great bonding experience and can lead to a lifetime of self-sustaining skills.
Kids enjoy watching things grow and bonus points if they can eat it. At the same time, they grow into adults who have an advantage over people who didn’t have the same experience.
Involve the whole family in gardening and enjoy the experience together. Each time you sit at the table and enjoy foods you grew you can all be proud of the investment of time and energy you put into the process.