Planting A Bee Garden: How To Get The Kids Involved

Special Feature: Planting A Bee Garden: How To Get The Kids Involved

Planting a bee garden is a great way to help these tiny, important creatures survive and thrive, yet many people are unsure of how to start or even if they’re able to. You don’t need a huge space to make a wonderful retreat for bees; a small window box full of herbs is perfect, and that can be done whether you live in a house or an apartment.


Because bees play a major role in our food production cycle — contributing to about one-third of all the food we eat, from pollinating vegetables to keeping a healthy amount of greenery around for animals to graze on — it’s imperative that we give them a safe place full of good food and clean water so they can fuel up. Unfortunately, because of habitat loss and use of pesticides, the bee population is dying off rapidly, a huge concern for scientists who aren’t sure we can replicate the pollination process on our own.


If you’re interested in doing your part and starting a bee garden, consider getting the kids involved. Being responsible for planting and tending a garden can teach responsibility, and children will love being able to reap the rewards when the flowers, fruits, or vegetables are ready to harvest. Besides that, gardening can boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety in young people.


For more information on how gardening can help kids learn and grow, read on here.


Do some research


Look up some of the best plants to have in your area and where to place them. For instance, bees like many different types of flowers, but some of these may not be appropriate for the climate where you live. Also, you’ll need to plan out where to put them. If your backyard gets the most sun, that’s likely the best place to start. Shady spots usually don’t make great homes for plants. Have your kids help you scout out the best location for your garden, and make a trip to your local home and garden store to buy seeds.


Plot out your garden by drawing a little blueprint; keeping clusters of the same flower close together will ensure that your bees don’t have to travel far to get a good meal. They love flat-headed flowers, like sunflowers or blackeyed Susans, because these allow for a good place to land and rest, but they also enjoy hyacinth, lilac, snapdragons, and foxglove. Think about what sort of plants will grow well nearly year-round, as bees are still buzzing about in the fall and often have trouble finding enough to eat. Zinnias, aster, and goldenrod are some of the best autumnal plants to add to your garden.


Give them a drink


Ask your children to help you make a colorful place for the bees to stop and get a drink by painting a small bowl to keep water in. Give each child a good-sized rock to paint and place these in the water so that they protrude a bit, giving the bees a sturdy place to stand and get a sip without drowning.


Create a community garden


If you don’t have much room in your own yard for a garden, contact your local parks and recreation department to inquire about starting a community garden at a nearby park. This can be a place for all the neighborhood children to learn about bees and how to care for plants, something that can be beneficial for young people who are troubled or have mood disorders.


Remember that it’s also important to support your local farmers and beekeepers, so visit the farmers market in your town on weekends and talk to the people who keep these little creatures active and vital. Buying local honey is a great way to show your support, as well.