Planting a garden of any kind with children is often a rewarding activity and can encourage young minds to want to learn more about the environment around them. When you plant edible fruits and vegetables, kids also get a tangible reward for their hard work. Strawberries and tomatoes are relatively easy plants for kids to grow, and they can check regularly for changes in their plants and harvest the fruit when the time is right.
Preparing the Garden Bed
Have the children help prepare the garden bed in full sun for their plants by digging the soil up to 10 inches deep. While you may want to do the bulk of the digging, kids can use their own shovels or hands to break up large clumps of dirt.
Section off one portion of the garden for strawberries and another for tomatoes. Use string, a board or a simple line of rocks to draw a line between the two or create a small walking pathway in the middle to separate them.
Talk with the children about spacing the plants far enough apart that they all get enough water and room to grow. The strawberries will want to be 18 to 24 inches apart, while tomatoes prefer a little more room and should be planted two to three feet apart.
Get the kids to measure points in the bed with a tape measure where the plants will go and insert sticks or twigs in the ground to represent each plant. This will be a way to ensure the spacing is well planned and understood. Let the children dig holes the size of the plants' pots at each stick or twig.
Planting the Garden
Help each child remove the pots from around the root ball of the plants one at a time and set the plants in the appropriate bed. Firm the loosened soil around each plant to secure it in place.
Water the plants well around the base of each plant, letting the kids see how the water soaks into the soil and can make it moist without making it soggy. You and/or the children will need to moisten the soil like this throughout the growing season any time it is dry to the touch.
Let the older children push garden stakes into the ground next to the tomato plants or set tomato cages around each tomato seedling without touching the seedling. As the tomatoes grow, the kids can help train the main stems to the cage or stake with plant ties.
Lay out a layer of straw with the children around the strawberries once the plants start to set fruit and help them remove the straw once the harvest is over.
About this Author
Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for WidescreenWarrior.com as a contributor and podcast co-host.