It is exciting for kids to participate in planting a garden in the spring to harvest it in the summer, which can benefit them mentally, emotionally, and physically. But just because summer starts to fade into fall, it doesn’t mean that all outdoor garden activities should end yet. Taking the appropriate steps to preserve and nourish the garden’s soil through the fall and winter are activities that kids can be involved with, as well.
Fall is the time for older kids to get outside and help remove any debris such as fallen trees or branches from the garden area. Let them develop those gross motor skills by dragging small limbs to a brush pile and pulling up stubborn weeds. This can be a great fun, good exercise and also encourages team effort and co-work.
Spent plants need to be pulled up too. If the plants were healthy and not diseased or infested with bugs, they can be added to a compost pile for later use. Nothing should go to waste if not necessary.
Planting Spring Bulbs in the Fall
Many bulbs, such as hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips can be planted in the fall months of September and October. Getting these flower bulbs in the ground early lets them get a jump start before spring and even young kids can enjoy this process, too!
Be sure to plant these bulbs at least 6 to 8 weeks before the ground freezes. Bulbs cannot be saved until the next season if their planting window is missed, so be sure to get them planted on time.
Let the kids give them a good drink of water or plant food once they are in the ground, but these bulbs do not require much maintenance through the fall and winter. They will just be ready to make their debut the following spring, hopefully filling the garden with joy, and early, colorful flowers.
Maintaining the Garden and Lawn During the Winter
Winter days can be long and hard to fill. Oftentimes, kids are cooped up inside and not able to get the fresh air and exercise they do during other seasons. But there are some activities that kids can help with before the next spring rolls around.
Protect hoses and outdoor faucets
Be sure to disconnect any outdoor garden hoses and roll them up to store in a dry place, such as a garage or garden shed. Thoroughly wrap and insulate all outdoor faucets and exposed water pipes to protect them from the harsh weather and prevent a winter plumbing emergency.
Winterize plants and trees
Bring tender plants inside to protect them from the cold. Also, consider tying up the long limbs of evergreen trees to prevent them from breaking under the weight of heavy snow.
Clear Snow with a snow blower
When snow blowing, remember to work with the wind and not against it. Blowing snow in one direction only to have it thrown back in your face from a wind gust is no fun! Begin with the upwind side, then word downwind. Also, remember to move up and down the length of the path rather than using short, side-to-side movements.
Try to blow the snow as far into the yard as possible. Pushing it only to the edge of the driveway or sidewalk will only create a snowbank and make it even more difficult to remove when the next big snow arrives.
Speaking of snow, older kids can get outside and blow snow from the driveway or sidewalk to help the family out during winter. Check out some of these lightweight, small and safe cordless snow blowers for a winter afternoon chore.
Finally, be safe. Be sure that no young children or pets are in the way. Also, supervise older kids closely and make sure that machine is powered completely off when it is not being used for more than a few seconds.
Let the kids get in their exercise in the fall and winter by doing these simple outdoor chores. Doing so will help keep both them and the garden healthy and ready for spring!
Jason is a Dad and a gardening enthusiast with an engineering background. He loves everything around the house, from vegetable gardens to power tools. He is also the Chief Editor and Founder at gardenlifepro.com.
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.