Veggie Gardening With Kids – Fun Things to Grow In Your Backyard
From first-hand experience, there’s nothing like growing up with a backyard garden. These spaces are a wonderland for children to get fresh air, play in the dirt, explore all the bugs and just be what being a kid is all about. Gardens of any type and size help to build bonds and make memories amongst all generations of family members – even preserving important traditions.
Even beyond playfulness, the garden also offers the chance to teach and learn real life lessons and skills about how to care for something and general environmental awareness. In fact, just a quick Google search will unearth many studies of how gardening with children helps build or improve their locomotive development, sensory stimulation, creativity, overall literacy and cognitive development around memory, information analysis and more,
So whether you’re a seasoned gardener – or are just getting started yourself – including children in the process will make it an even more rewarding experience. To help, here are some tips on how to successfully garden with i bambini and a few ideas on what to grow.
Creating the Best Garden Experience for Children
Make It Fun
The best way to engage with children is to encourage them. Let them get tactile and dig the soil with rewarding purpose – rather than making them think they are creating a mess. Give them a chance to get a little wet with the hose while watering plants. Gardening with them can’t be letting them watch you do all the work, it should involve them in and give reason to things they’re curious to do already.
Choose Quick-growing Plants
It’s important to keep kids’ attention in any activity. That may seem daunting with the thought of a project that takes days or weeks rather than minutes. So when selecting what to grow, consider plants that will germinate fast, grow rapidly and change their state or go through different cycles so that children will always have something new to discover.
Easy to Maintain
Some elements of gardening can seem mundane. Watering, weeding and pruning are a few tasks that will put off even adult new-gardeners. Try to limit these tasks as much as possible by considering where to grow as carefully as what to grow. Raised garden beds are ideal places to start as they offer better soil quality, moisture control and a barrier to weeds. They also help to bring the soil level up off the ground giving kids easier access. Containers are another good option offering small, dedicated spaces for kids to have just for themselves.
Grow What Kids Like to Eat
The planting, watering and caring always pay off when you get to taste what you grow. To ensure kids get that same rewarding experience, plant what they like to eat. Yes, they’re probably more likely to try something they were a part of growing, but maybe skip the broccoli if your idea of gardening with them is trying to convince them to eat their greens. Start with what they will enjoy and then expand their plate with more homegrown goodies.
The Best Plants to Grow With Children
Bite-sized, juicy, plentiful. Arguably one of the most fun crops to grow with kids. These do well in pots or in garden beds and you should be picking your first one by around day 50. Once they start there’s no stopping them until a hard frost.
Truly the stuff of children's’ books. Growing green beans can be magical for kids, Very fast growing and one of the best plants to start from seed, you can expect to be picking in as little as 45 days. Both pole and bush beans are good options, though the latter will require some staking or trellising to get them climbing.
What kid doesn’t like a giant yellow flower? These will sprout out of the ground in a week and be as tall as your children within 4 to 6 weeks. The flowers will open and dry by late summer, giving you tons of sunflower seeds to snack on and save for next year’s garden. Be sure to give these plants space, as they do get large.
Not much grows quicker. Sown from seed, you should see them germinate in as little as a few days. By day 20, the roots start to form and poke above the soil indicating they’re almost ready. By day 30 you can usually start enjoying them. The most rewarding part? Definitely the satisfaction kids will get from pulling them out of the ground.
A vining or sprawling plant, this will need some space vertically or along the ground. A fast and large growing plant like this means there always seems to be something new to explore each day. Once the cucumbers are ready to pick – in 50-70 days – they make a great, cool treat for little mouths.
Best growing in cooler and shadier conditions makes this ideal for early and late season gardening. Depending on variety, baby greens can be picked within 20-30 days and full heads can be harvested in 40-50 days. Trying to grow these with children is a good way to expose them to and interest them in eating salads.
Want help in getting an edible garden started for you and your family? The Young Nonno can help create the right space of any size and style, and plan what to grow. For more information or a free consultation don’t hesitate to reach out.