The idea of hosting family-friendly gardening workshops in my own yard has been buzzing in my brain for some time. I love the idea of parents having an opportunity for learning in a space that is kid-friendly. Kids can be a part of the learning, but also be free to play—because kids and parents learn differently. Us bigs like to talk, littles like to play!

This spring we’re testing the idea out right here in East Vancouver—barren garden, 1/2 done projects and all—because gardening with kids is NOT about perfection. We’ll be learning, exploring, playing, laughing and talking together about how we can grow food in the city even with little time, little money and little people.

Family-friendly Gardening Workshops

5, 1 hour sessions 

Sliding scale: ~$10 per family

Babies, toddlers, kids, parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers welcome.

  1. Soil: Good food starts here
  2. Growing food part 1: Veggie mania
  3. Growing food part 2: Fruit in the city
  4. Pests, pollinators & growing an ecosystem: Why organic approaches work
  5. Completing the cycle: Seed saving & cover cropping 

1.Soil: Good food starts here

What you’ll learn: fundamentals for how to build healthy soil

Hands-on activities: digging for worms & other wrigglers and simple soil tests

– simple soil tests to find out your soil type
– how-to building healthy soil (compost, amendments & green manure explained)


2.Growing food part 1: Veggie mania

What you’ll learn: basics on choosing what to grow. Emphasis on easy-to-grow crops, kid favourites and techniques to save time and improve success

Hands-on activities: planting pea seeds; rainbow veggie tasting

– vegetable planting calendar (from westcoast seeds)
– top choices for kids’ veggie gardens
– garden planning & crop rotation simplified

3.Growing food part 2: Fruit in the city

What you’ll learn: basics on growing the most popular family-friendly and compact fruit crops: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and dwarf trees.  

Hands-on activities: planting strawberries in pots; berry taste test

– tips for growing berries
– tips for growing fruit trees in small spaces

4.Pests, pollinators & growing an ecosystem: Organic approaches to gardening 

What you’ll learn: go from focusing just on the food you’re growing to how you can create a mini-ecosystem that keeps your plants healthy & productive. The importance of soil microbes, pollinators and flowers will become clear!

Hands-on activities: flower arranging +/or mason bee houses

– best plants for pollinators in the Pacific Northwest
– how to encourage a healthy soil microbial ecosystem
– trap plants, good pests and other tricks for thriving organic gardens
– flower and herb planting calendar (from westcoast seeds) 

5.Completing the cycle: Seed saving and cover crops 

What you’ll learn: You’ve had a great year in the garden, when fall arrives know what to do to prepare for next year from seed saving to protecting your soil from the winter rains.

Hands-on activities: seed threshing (small and large), seed fermentation, seed sorting

– how to save seeds: dry and wet methods
– best cover crops for the Pacific Northwest
– timeline for fall and winter gardening