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The best way to get kids to eat their greens? Heap their plates with homegrown bounty plucked right from the backyard. Gardening as a family gives children an appreciation for the work behind the food on the table, an understanding of basic ecology and a chance to help parents outside.

However, as parents are already well aware, kids don’t exactly warm to activities requiring them to stand idly by while an adult does most of the work. Complex projects that demand sawing, drilling and hauling can be boring for budding gardeners who want nothing more than to get their hands dirty.

Here are a few fun and quirky DIY garden bed projects your kids will love:

Stack Cinder Blocks: A very industrial approach to backyard ecology, stacked cinder blocks allow you to create a relatively fortified garden bed in a short amount of time. The gaps in the centers of the blocks also provide an extra spot for makeshift container gardening—the perfect spot for a frothy groundcover like sweet alyssum or DIY strawberry pots. If you’d like to remove your garden at the end of the growing season, line the bottom of the bed with landscaping fabric before laying your blocks.

Build a Raised Pallet Bed: Perhaps one of the simplest beds you could ask for, an industrial pallet makes an easy, small bed for plants with shallow root systems. Again, line the bottom with landscaping fabric and staple it to the wood to keep the soil in place. Fill the interior with soil, and you have a planned bed for companion planting. Pallets can also be turned on their sides to make a hip vertical bed. Usually, you can find pallets at small hardware stores and garden centers, which will gladly hand over a few extras.

Use Recycled Tires: Consider it upcycled container gardening at its finest. With no stone to haul or boards to drill, this project is the ultimate no-sweat bed for a kid short on attention (or the family short on time). Spray-painted in fun, kid-friendly colors, these add an eclectic and environmental touch to your landscaping. If you’re wondering where to get used tires, many retailers will be happy to part with a few cast-offs if you ask.

Edge With Painted Stones: One way to capture your kids’ interest is to allow them to put their own unique stamp on a project. Stone borders allow gardens to fit neatly into even the tiniest, oddball spaces—but this project lets your little ones embrace their own inner Picasso as well. Give them some weather-resistant acrylic paint, and you’ll have great landscaping and a family keepsake that can endure throughout the years.

By completing one or more of these fun garden bed projects, your family will reap the benefits of fresh, home-grown fruits or veggies in no time!

Source: Erin Vaughan/RISMedia’s Housecall

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