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We live in an apartment with a small balcony. I've decided to start a small container garden to teach my two year old about gardens and taking care of plants. she's very excited. does any one recommend any good books, targeted at children. also any techniques or tips for children.

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There's an RHS book called Ready, Steady Grow - available on Amazon. Also an Usborne one called Gardening for Beginners very much aimed at children. The trouble is, your child is only two, so reading it will probably be beyond her - most children's gardening books are aimed at 7 years up, that is, from the advent of the age of reason at seven years old. In the meantime, just show her - get some pots, fill up with potting medium, then maybe plant some seeds, letting her copy you, and talk to her about what you're doing and why. Get her to water and watch and wait for growth.

If you want to grow edible stuff, such as tomatoes, probably best to get a plant or two, pot those up and she can watch you not only water and fertilize, but then see flowers turn into fruitlets and then ripe fruit. If you do this, though, make sure you teach (as far as possible with someone that age) that some plants are edible, or have edible parts, and many more don't, otherwise you're at risk of her picking poisonous fruits when outside if there are any about. She's only two and not yet capable of determining the difference, even if you show her, so she'll need watching - it may not have occurred to her that you can eat plants, and once she knows, she's not old enough to understand the difference between what you can eat and what you can't on her own. And also ensure that anything else you decide to grow isn't poisonous if consumed, in case she decides to try them. 52% of plants grown in the average garden are toxic if eaten, so some thought is required. If she shows a lot of interest this year and next, maybe a book or three later on. Or even a child's gardening app, there's bound to be one soon if there isn't already.

Ultimately, there's no substitute for adult enthusiasm, experience and time where a child's concerned - your own interest should transmit itself to her, even if she just observes what you're doing over time. Although its always possible she won't be in the least interested as time goes by, everyone's different.

  • Great point. I hadn't thought about her eating or picking non edible things. As we started potting the containers, I made sure she had similar tools and clothes as me. She like mimicking everything I do, so it helped in the teaching. – MsDelanda Jun 19 '15 at 20:20

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