Teach kids to grow their own food

By Ritah Monica Mukasa

Added 19th September 2017 06:12 PM

“It should be a fun expedition. Let them get dirty while preparing their gardens, planting and harvesting,” he advises.

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Teenagers should also engage in gardening. Photos by Ritah Mukasa

“It should be a fun expedition. Let them get dirty while preparing their gardens, planting and harvesting,” he advises.

Gardening helps children to know where food comes from.

Besides, it allows them to get hands on, observe and experiment while nurturing their passion.

Diana Mbabaali Miiro, a prominent backyard gardener and resident of Bukasa, a Kampala suburb says that she got the inspiration from her mother.

With her siblings, they grew matooke, beans, cassava, vegetables and herbs in their parent’s backyard in Makindye, another suburb of Kampala.

Today, the mother of two earns a living from back yard gardening after she quit the banking profession to concentrate on her passion.

 et them recycle containers Let them recycle containers

She propagates and sells spices, culinary herbs, fruit trees, ornamental plants, planters and more from her home.

Leonard Muzahura, a gardener with Superior landscapes in Nsambya, a Kampala suburb argues that children should be introduced to gardening as early as possible.

This allows them to enjoy fresh food for a healthy life.

“Never reward a child after a gardening task, instead let them appreciate that gardening itself is a big reward,” he opines.

Ways to introduce children to gardening

According to Muzahura, make gardening fun by showing kids how interesting it is to plant seedlings and see them grow.

“It should be a fun expedition. Let them get dirty while preparing their gardens, planting and harvesting,” he advises.

Also set aside a corner for them to get busy with dirt whenever they feel like. This will help them to love and appreciate plants.

Drake Kizito, another gardener says that tool kits like gloves and gumboots come in handy if you fear for children’s hygiene.

 hildren should be introduced to gardening at an early age Children should be introduced to gardening at an early age.

He adds that incase of limited space, let the kids use recycled containers, pots and sacks for gardens.

“These should be painted with interesting colors and designs to keep the passion growing,” he argues.

Besides, choose  fast growing plants that require minimal maintenance for children to begin with. Preferably vegetables, herbs and fruits.

These will give them positive results in a short time and motivate them to garden on.

For example, sukuma wiki, spinach, tomatoes, egg plants, mints among others.

They can also grow peas, beans, sunflowers, radishes, carrots and more. 

On the other hand, Muzahura upholds that gardening books also play a great role in teaching children to grow their own food.

They carry drawings to help learners identify with the plants of their choice.

“Just check with book stores, libraries or big supermarkets nearby for any,” he advises.

Nevertheless, give the children responsibility more so, those that show less interest in gardening.

“Assign them to water, weed or manure the plants. Gradually they will appreciate as they see them grow to maturity,” he opines.

ontainers can be good gardensContainers can be good gardens.

Also, cultivate with them.  Show them how to till, plant, weed, manure and harvest.

“Buy for them ornamental planters, colorful art pieces and involve them in deciding where to locate them in the garden,” he asserts.

Also, show them how peels and leaves decompose to turn into fertile soil.

Meanwhile, supervise children especially when they are using tools like garden forks, hoes, pangas and more.

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