Gardening with Kids: An Arizona Guide for Planting and Actually Harvesting Something


Are you a green thumb or, like us, are you more of a brown thumb?  Either way, gardening with kids can be a fun experience that helps teach kids about patience, nurturing, and basic plant science. 

If you’re wondering how to get started, we’ve come up with a little cheat sheet of ideas to help you on your way!  We’d love to hear from you about what works for you and your littles and what other ideas we can add to our Gardening Guide!


Kayla & Lindsay

Give Kids a Dedicated Space to Plant

If your yard or patio allows, give your kiddos their own dedicated space to grow whatever they want. A corner of the yard, a large pot, or a windowsill can all be great spaces for little hands to get dirty and start their garden. We also have been eyeing these vertical tower gardens that save space and are the perfect height for young kids. (If you’re looking to really lean into gardening, local Mesa CSA True Garden also offers classes in vertical gardening.)

Growing vegetables or fruits are a fun way for kids to get a “farm to table” experience, but you certainly aren’t limited in what you and your kiddos can plant! 

Planting flowers to attract bees and butterflies are a great way to encourage kids in understanding the ecosystem and is fun at the same time. Let their imaginations run wild in their own space.

Plant seeds in the correct timeframe for our climate

Yeah, yeah, this sounds like too much research work, but we have a cheat sheet for you!

UA created a produce planting calendar that tells you what will successfully grow from seeds or transplants each month specific to our weather.

We didn’t know about this resource until Amy mentioned it’s how she’s planned her garden for a few years!

Plant produce that grows quickly

Even though gardening with kids is a great lesson for patience, some produce just takes forever and isn’t great for kids excited for quick results in the garden. (Carrots are one of these, they take literally forever.)

A few of the ‘easy win’ produce plants that yield impressive results quickly for kids (and without much nurturing and extra effort for parents):

  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers

Use a Raised Flower Bed

My kids’ tolerance for bending over for long periods of time is certainly better than mine, but it still may be a good idea to invest in a raised flower bed/table. 

There are several options available online or locally and they can even allow for your landscape drip lines to be added to help defray the risk of an “oops, I forgot to water my plants” moment. Herbs thrive in beds like this and it helps keep them away from your pets or other critters.

Plant a Food they Love, Plant a Food they Don’t

Got a picky eater? Trick question, of course you do. 

Planting your own food is an awesome way to introduce kids to new fruits and veggies!  One way to encourage an expanding palette is to plant a food they don’t always love while simultaneously planting something you know is a “safe” food. 

When kids take pride in their efforts at growing food, it’s amazing what they will try!  Once your vegetables are ready, get your kids involved by having them make meals using the vegetables they grew! My kids love washing the vegetables, cutting and preparing them. 

Its a great way to show kids the reasons why growing your own food can be so fun!

Give your kids specific jobs

My kids were always fighting over who got to do what with the garden. So they choose specific jobs, one watered the garden, while the other one picked the vegetables that were ready. Occasionally they would switch jobs, but this helped reduce the fighting and helped them enjoy it more!

Gardening with your kids can be fun (we promise)!  We hope these tips give you the get up and go to give it a try!


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