Even when the weather isn’t the best, you can get outside and have fun with your kids all year around. With a little bit of creativity, you can spend some memorable moments in the garden as a family. To help you get started, read about some simple activities that kids can participate in throughout the fall and winter. Plus, find out which hardy plant varieties you can enjoy, even in the off season.
Fun Autumn & Winter Gardening Activities
Kids need quality time outdoors in every season. The autumn and winter are no exception. Breathing fresh air and feeling the soil between their fingers is great for growing minds. Here are some fun gardening activities for the whole family.
Have the kids put on their gardening gloves and help you make rich soil that will make your plants grow even better. Rake the autumn leaves into big piles. Of course, they should jump in the leaves before adding other compost ingredients, such as kitchen scraps, manure, garden prunings and grass clippings.
Kids can learn a lot of skills by helping you make markers for the flowers, herbs and vegetables in your garden, and autumn is a good time to do it. Decide on a design together that will look great in the garden all year long. Stock up on craft materials to make some jazzy markers. Then, spend some time teaching your kids about what the plants look like and how to distinguish them. Once they have learned how to spot the different colors, leaf shapes and stem structures, your children will have fun being garden detectives and spotting all the different varieties.
This fall, before cutting back the plants, recruit your kids to harvest seeds from the garden. You can even make it a competition to see who collects the most. Then, use these to make seed balls together using clay and soil. These can be thrown like grenades in the spring as an easy and effective way to reseed in the coming spring.
This is the season to plant bulbs for brilliant spring blossoms. Your kids can roll up their sleeves and help plant daffodil, tulip, iris, hyacinth and crocus bulbs before the first frost hits. Remember to plant them in groups of three to five bulbs and water generously. Nothing is more magical for children then seeing their hard work pay off in the spring when their flowers bloom.
What to Grow in the Autumn & Winter
Your yard doesn’t have to look drab in the fall and winter; there are plenty of plant varieties that can withstand the cold, even in Ohio. Here are some suggestions of what succulents, flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit to grow so to keep your garden active all year long.
Select hardy succulent varieties are designed by nature to grow in tough climates and difficult conditions. Try planting these succulents in your garden for colorful ground cover in all seasons. They should do well, even in the below-freezing temperatures that we get in Ohio.
- Opuntia or “Prickly Pear cactus”
For a pop of color, choose plants with winter blooms from your garden store. They may not smell like spring blossoms, but they will really stand out especially against the monochromatic background that we see around here in the autumn and winter. Look for these varieties for off-season flowering.
- English Primrose
- Winter Jasmine
- Hellebore or “Christmas Rose”
- Holly Bushes
Fresh herbs can enhance any of your favorite holiday recipes and winter stews. There are plenty of hearty aromatic plants that can still be enjoyed this time of year. They tend to grow more slowly in the fall and winter months, so be sure to plant these herbs in abundance to offset this tendency. You should also leave some of their old growth when pruning in the fall.
- Winter Savory
Vegetables & Fruit
Who said you can’t have fresh vegetables and fruit in the winter? Try these varieties in your garden for low-season harvesting.
- Broad Beans
- Butternut Squash
- Buttercup Squash
- Hubbard Squash
- Kabocha Squash
- Acorn Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
Remember that most squash varieties require 80 to 110 days to fully mature. In order to harvest these in your garden during the autumn and winter, they should likely be planted in the late spring.
Enjoy Plants All Year Round
At Dietz Floral Studio, every season is colorful. You can learn more about plant care and flower arrangement even during the long, cold winter. Check out our upcoming hands-on floral design workshops.