Tips for Gardening with Children | Guest Post by Melissa Norris

The Amish traditionally have large families with lots of children under foot. They work as a family unit while keeping up their farms, livelihoods, and homes. Children learn from a young age how to do household and farm chores and are expected to help.

Their children don’t have video games, televisions, or iPods to keep them occupied. They’re busy tending their home, crops, and livestock. And I believe that they might have the better childhood when comparing most of mainstream society’s children.


As far back as I can remember, every spring we hauled out the rototiller and began preparing the garden for planting. I grew up learning from both my parents the ins and outs of gardening, each year taking on new tasks and responsibilities. When my own children were born, I passed on this tradition.

Depending upon the age of your children, I’ve gleaned a few tips to make your time with them in the garden productive and meaningful.

  1. Mark the rows. Mark your rows clearly when you’re planting so little feet (and big) don’t step on the newly-planted seed. A great indoor project is to have the kids make the row markers ahead of time. It can be as simple as writing in permanent marker on wooden stakes or have them color and write out cards that you then have laminated. My parents used to put the empty seed packet upside down on the stake.
  2. Create an assembly line. We plant our garden in one day, so to keep things orderly and manage our time, we create an assembly line. My husband maps out the rows. He uses a long piece of pipe and presses it into the dirt, leaving an indent for the seeds and a straight line. I poke holes the appropriate deepness for each seed and have each child drop a seed into the hole (on their own row). I go behind them and cover the seed as they’re planting. Older children can cover the seeds as well.
  3. Give toddlers their own section. When my daughter was one and two years old, we gave her a small corner of the garden as her own. We let her plant her seeds in this section by herself. During weeding, she was free to weed her own plot. (I didn’t have to worry about her weeding my vegetables by mistake.) At harvest time, she picked her own beans, and I didn’t worry about her pulling the plant off the pole or uprooting it.
  4. Bible lessons. Use this time to explain some of the parables in the Bible. Children learn best from visual and hands on. My favorite is the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3. “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plant, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”

We chose the very best place for our garden; we water it, weed it, and help the plants grow. And just like we take care of our plants, God takes care of us.

Jesus placed us in our family and it’s our job to make sure we help one another to grow.

For more tips on gardening, Melissa has a free ebook Heirloom Gardening Guide—Plant to Save Money, for her newsletter subscribers.

Melissa is also doing a giveaway on her blog for a copy of her book and several chances for people to win packets of her family’s heirloom green bean seed that isn’t available to purchase anywhere as it’s been passed down from my great-grandparents over the decades.

About the Author

Melissa K. Norris—inspiring your faith and pioneer roots. Melissa is a Christian novelist, newspaper columnist, and non-fiction writer. Her new book, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, explains practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life. Her blog offers tutorials and articles on the Amish lifestyle for those of us in the modern world.

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Melissa K Norris (10 Posts)

Melissa K. Norris writes inspirational historical romance novels. Her stories inspire people to draw closer to God and their pioneer roots. She found her own little house in the big woods, where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. She writes a monthly column, Pioneering Today, for the local newspaper that bridges her love of the past with its usefulness in modern life. Her books and articles are inspired by her family’s small herd of beef cattle, her amateur barrel racing days, and her forays into quilting and canning—without always reading the directions first.


  1. I love the idea of giving children their own plot to care for. I told my five-year-old she could have her own “garden” and she is just thrilled—she’s making plans for what she’ll plant and can’t wait to get started!

    • Anna, isn’t it fun to see them get excited about gardening! Having them thumb through the seed catalog to pick out their plants is something we do before hand. Can’t wait to hear how her garden grows. 🙂


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    Tips for Gardening with Children | Guest Post by Melissa Norris

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