Growing a vegetable garden can be one of the most memorable experiences of your child’s summer and even of their childhood. The lessons they learn, the first taste of garden produce, and the smell of flowers will stay with them their whole life. Plus, learning to grow your own food is a valuable asset. Here are some tips for setting up a kid-friendly garden and keeping the fun going throughout the whole season.
Choose an Ideal Location
Set your child up for success by choosing the right location for their garden. Select a sheltered spot near a water source with at least 6 hours of sunlight. Give them rich soil, fortified with compost, peat or topsoil. If possible, locate it within their play area. If you don’t have access to a raised bed or garden plot, you can improvise using an assortment of pots.
Let the Kids Create a Design
Give them a sense of ownership and responsibility by letting them make their own design. With your guidance, they can decide where to grow each plant and use their creativity to place the flowers or herbs.
Select Easy-to-Grow Vegetables with a Few Flowers
Kids will have fun if their plants do well and if they have tasks to do throughout the whole season. So ideally, let them select easy-to-grow veggies that can be picked frequently, such as radish, carrots, beets, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, and cucumber. To add excitement to their plot, include a trellis for easy-picking snap peas or runner beans. Add marigolds or mint to encourage friendly pollinators and supply color and fragrance.
For extra fun, consider including corn, pumpkins, or the all-time child favorite, the sunflower. Their huge blossoms that follow the sun are sure to impress, and they give tasty seeds for roasting in the autumn.
Give them Real Tools to Use
While it is tempting to buy kid-friendly plastic tools, often these are not user-friendly. The cheap plastic can break easily, and toy-like design makes them harder to use. Make gardening as easy as possible for your little ones by providing them with real trowels, hand rakes, and weeding forks. They’ll see that adults use these tools as well and will place a greater sense of importance in their work.
Garden the Whole Season
Your kids will learn the most from tending to the whole life-cycle of the plants. They’ll connect their gardening lessons to broader patterns in nature and recognize that their work is not just play, but a valuable contribution to the family. So let the fun begin early by starting seeds indoors and keep them engaged all summer with watering, weeding, and the best part, harvesting.
Eat the Vegetables
If you want children to eat their vegetables, let them grow their own. The tasty snacks will wow their taste buds and give them a rush of healthy energy. Plus, they will be eager to enjoy the rewards of their patience and care. And like many first-time gardeners, they will simply be amazed that such a tiny seed can turn into a carrot!
Vegetable gardening is a joy at any age but can be especially magical for a child. They’ll learn lifelong skills and learn how to grow valuable food for the family. Don’t forget to let them show off their success by sending photos to friends and grandparents. If you need any more advice on vegetable gardening with kids, please don’t hesitate to contact our garden centers.