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Children / Colorado Livin'

Gardens give kids a chance to play, learn (plus five easy species to plant)

Want to get your kids into the dirt? Here are some suggestions for quick- growing, quick-reward plants from Terry Carter of Designs by Sundown and others.

1. Carrots: Kids will enjoy planting the seeds, then thinning them out. You can also start the plants in a glass to watch germination happen. Best of all, it’s a root vegetable they actually like to eat, unlike strong- tasting turnips or radishes.

2. Pumpkins: Kids can watch them grow a bit every day, and then there’s the wonder of the pumpkin itself. In fall, they have a fun gourd to make a jack- o’-lantern out of.

3. Sunflowers: They grow so quickly, kids can see a difference every day. Have them measure the growth. And the seeds can be fed to the birds, or the kids can eat them. There’s a variety for every size of garden.

4. Purple bush beans (try Royal Burgundy or Purple Queen varieties) are fun for kids to hunt for and find amid the green foliage; the big seeds are easy for small hands to plant. Plus they’re tender and tasty right off the vine.

5. Herbs: Kids love them because of the fragrance and the taste. If Mom says, “Go pick some basil,” they’re happy to do so. Herbs like cilantro, oregano or mint really reach out to their senses.

-Maria Cote
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Terry Carter has some simple advice for people trying to create an outdoor wonderland for their children:

Get them involved.

The professional, who works for Designs by Sundown, specializes in creating landscapes for families.

“The best thing you can do is get them out there, planning and planting,” says Carter, who has won several awards from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. “When my three daughters were young, I’d focus on things that come up fast and grow quickly, because a child’s attention span is short.”

So sunflowers, which grow tall quickly, or veggies, with their promise of harvest, will keep the children’s interest, she says. “It gets them involved with the whole green movement,”

he says. “But you have to make it fun for them, or they won’t want to do it.”

When designing landscapes for people with children, she adopts a child’s-eye view of the space.

“You need some turf for them to run around in,” she says. “Fire pits are popular with them. And kids love water features. They also love to climb.”

Water features are pivotal at the Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, where children are encouraged to be in direct

Read more: Gardens give kids a chance to play, learn – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/grow/ci_18000584#ixzz1LZkX3QeZ

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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