Kiddo garden!

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Alright y’all, I’m expanding my garden. I’ve got an area about 12x16 very partial shade. I’m going to have to add a lot of manure to the soil and dig it up and all. But, I’m wanting to make it super fun for some kids! We’ll probably be moving in a few years, when I finish nursing school, but until then I need a low maintenance and fun garden that produces food. Cheap of course! So far I’m thinking of beans shaped into a teepee trellis. Maybe a wishing well of used tires with something growing out of it. I want to do raised beds I think and then creeping thyme or some other soft ground cover in between the raised beds. I’m trying to come up with ideas and would love if y’all had some! I also need a fence or some barrier for small pests, not sure what to make that out of yet.
Is there anything fun and kid friendly in your garden I could adopt?
Can't remember where you live...

Back in Texas I loved gardening for hummingbirds, and butterflies. I only had 1 kid then. But he loved it too. Especially with the monarchs. They are easy, and hatch like clock work. When they first come out they will walk all over your hands. I planted for monarchs and swallowtails. As soon as I saw the caterpillars I would bring them inside and we would raise them in a cage. Monarchs eat milkweed. Swallowtails eat fennel and dill.

After moving to Alaska... I found it was great if the kids got to pick something and be responsible for it.

For crafty kids straw flowers are great.

No cute butterflies here... but we like the bees, and we plant for them.

When I was a kid my mom made something like an igloo with chicken wire and then grew something over it. I still remember how great it was to crawl inside there.
 

FarmerJamie

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I used to grow pumpkins and while they were still green, about 2/3 through the season, had the kids pick out "their" pumpkin. Then took a paring knife and scored their name into the skin. It would "scab over" and by the time the pumpkins were orange, it was emblazoned with their name in brown
 

NH Homesteader

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I used to grow pumpkins and while they were still green, about 2/3 through the season, had the kids pick out "their" pumpkin. Then took a paring knife and scored their name into the skin. It would "scab over" and by the time the pumpkins were orange, it was emblazoned with their name in brown
Yes! This is fun!
 

flowerbug

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peas, radishes and cucumbers are easy and quick enough. leaves and sprouts are also good from peas and radishes.

beans i like and some earlier ones are quick too. of course it helps if the kids like to eat them.

realize though that it is likely you will still be doing most of the work. don't complain or be negative as that makes it less of a good memory and also less drama too overall. just do what you can and accept whatever they can or will do to help out. also the general idea of having chores and habits is important but i've always been fairly willing no matter what so that wasn't a struggle for me. with children these days i'm not sure how that actually goes... i guess i should just say good luck here and hope for the best. :)

some creeping thymes aren't super fast growers to cover a large area so you may need more plants (or plugs) to cover and then weeding to make sure they don't get overrun themselves since they are low growing plants. it takes a lot of finicky weeding to get them going and then as they are established the weeding task gets easier but it still takes time and children may not be capable of doing that kind of work. as you get older and enjoy it more then you can do it. i was not patient enough for sure...
 

Messybun

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I think I should clarify a little bit. These aren’t my kids and won’t be expected to do any of the work. They are my friend’s kids, and I was hoping to make my garden something they would like to play in when they come over. If they eat what’s available that’s fine, I want to make sure the stuff is edible and there are fun projects (like naming their pumpkins or painting plant identification stones) but the use will be for my family. But if I’m making something useful make it fun too, right?
I Now definitely want to incorporate a butterfly patch and some other stuff too! Thanks already y’all!
 

Messybun

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peas, radishes and cucumbers are easy and quick enough. leaves and sprouts are also good from peas and radishes.

beans i like and some earlier ones are quick too. of course it helps if the kids like to eat them.

realize though that it is likely you will still be doing most of the work. don't complain or be negative as that makes it less of a good memory and also less drama too overall. just do what you can and accept whatever they can or will do to help out. also the general idea of having chores and habits is important but i've always been fairly willing no matter what so that wasn't a struggle for me. with children these days i'm not sure how that actually goes... i guess i should just say good luck here and hope for the best. :)

some creeping thymes aren't super fast growers to cover a large area so you may need more plants (or plugs) to cover and then weeding to make sure they don't get overrun themselves since they are low growing plants. it takes a lot of finicky weeding to get them going and then as they are established the weeding task gets easier but it still takes time and children may not be capable of doing that kind of work. as you get older and enjoy it more then you can do it. i was not patient enough for sure...
I didn’t realize it took so long for thyme to take hold! I would love some soft ground cover but the most important is easy and food. I don’t have a lot of time right now lol.
Oh and these guys do love their vegetables. Their momma raises them right. They are willing to help out too, so they might end up taking some home or picking their dinner but I’m not planning on the help.
 

Alaskan

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I used to grow pumpkins and while they were still green, about 2/3 through the season, had the kids pick out "their" pumpkin. Then took a paring knife and scored their name into the skin. It would "scab over" and by the time the pumpkins were orange, it was emblazoned with their name in brown
Oh! That reminds me of what we did with carrots.

Start regular carrot seeds in a seed starting tray. As soon as the seedlings have a few leaves they already have a hugely long taproot that is the thickness of a hair.

Take them out to the garden and plant them. However you put that hair taproot in the ground is how it will grow.
 
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