One of my greatest pleasures as a parent is being able to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers alongside my toddler. While there are many aspects to gardening with a two-year-old that could lead you to want to pull your hair out (i.e. dirt eating, dirt throwing, dirt bathing, basically just dirt! oh, and plant pulling/kicking) there are many aspects that are worth the extra work of bringing your tiny shadow along for the journey. After two years of growing plants with me, he now recognizes many of them, has a growing appreciation and gentleness towards them, and eats many more fresh vegetables than before we started started growing!
One of Tad's favorite things to grow? Flowers! He learned the art of handing a bloom over to me last year and how much I loved it. I believe his favorite part, however, was being able to watch all of the insects that flowers attract crawling through the petals. We often would sit together and watch bees gathering pollen to take back to the hive. Flowers are extremely easy to grow from seed and are a perfect welcome to spring project for you and your little one to enjoy this year!
Sunflowers are most likely the easiest and rewarding flower for a young child to grow! With the help of a pudgy finger and some potting soil, you'll be able to bury these and see results within a few weeks. Start sunflowers indoor about 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost or sow directly into the soil right after your last spring frost date.
If you don't have ideal soil, try growing cosmos! They pop up extremely quickly and will continue to provide fresh blooms for you for months. I promise! The best way to make sure you get as many blooms as possible is to cut and come again - plus don't forget to pinch off dead heads. Either start 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost or plant outdoors in the week after.
Marigolds and Calendula
While you may find online that marigolds and calendula are the same plant, this is simply not true. Marigolds are a great natural insect and wildlife pest repellent in the garden. Have a rabbit or deer problem? Try planting these around your garden's perimeter! As for calendula? It's edible and marigolds are not. Calendula is amazing for making healing herbal teas and skin care products.
You may need to wait a bit for these beauties to bloom, but they provide beautiful colored and plump flowers for a majority of the late growing season. My favorite part about growing nasturtiums? You'll get a LOT of seeds at the end of the year... a lot! You can dry these and save them to plant in the years to come. How cool is that?! Start 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost and be sure to soak the seeds overnight in water. This will help kickstart germination.
An Instagrammable favorite, zinnias are a beautiful, colorful, and continually blooming flower that your little one will love being able to cut over and over until fall. These are my personal favorite flower, and I love that I can have a fresh vase of beautiful flowers every single week. Start indoors 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost and sow up 3 times in spring for continual blooms.
Which is your favorite flower to grow with little ones?