Written by Sarah O’Neill Fernandez.
Gardening with kids is a great summer activity.
It’s never too early to teach your children about where their food comes from, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to plant a garden with them.
Whether you have a large plot of land for an expansive garden or are a city dweller who does your gardening in pots, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables you can start growing with your kids. This will not only teach them about the origins of their food but it can also get them excited about eating their fruits and vegetables and trying new ones.
Get your children’s garden started with these ten delicious fruits and vegetables that both you and the kids will love to tend to:
While strawberries will happily grow in pots, the plants spread and multiply substantially from one year to the next. So, if you have ample space you can develop a significantly larger strawberry patch from one year to the next. Just be sure that at some point you contain the edges so that they don’t take over your entire garden. Kids love plucking these sweet berries straight off the vine for an afternoon snack.
Blueberries typically grow on bushes that over time can become taller than any member of the family and bear many, many helpings of this sweet fruit. However, new breeds of blueberries are available that grow in pots. As a perennial, these shrubs take a few years to reach their full potential, but you’ll still enjoy the sweet berries in the early years of the plant. It’s also fun to have plants that you can watch grow along with your kids.
The watermelons you grow in your own garden may not have the girth of those you find in the grocery store, but you can easily grow sweet and delicious watermelons that are about the same size as a cantaloupe in your backyard. This juicy fruit is a great side to any summer meal or even as a healthy replacement for dessert. Kids can’t get enough of it!
There are dozens of varieties of tomatoes that one can plant, and even if you have a big garden, you may want to plant yours in pots on your deck or patio so that they are always on hand to add to salads or for snacks.
For kids, cherry, grape, and pear tomatoes, which are available in red, yellow, and orange varieties, are bite sized which makes eating them right off the vine easy. They also provide more sweetness than their larger counterparts.
5. Green Beans
Also known as bush beans, with little more than proper watering, green beans can grow plentifully off a single plant for many weeks. They are equally as tasty raw as they are sautéed up as a side dish, and kids enjoy heading out to the garden to pick their portion of beans for the evening’s dinner.
While cucumbers aren’t one of the more flavorful fruits in the garden, they are crisp and refreshing, particularly on a hot summer day. They can also grow to be very long which gets the kids excited about them. Let each of your kids plant their own cucumber plant and have a contest to see who can grow the largest one, or just measure all of the ones that come out of the garden so that it’s a bit of a game for them.
Not all kids love broccoli, but they are much more likely to eat it if they are the ones that grow it. Broccoli is easy to grow and doesn’t have a particularly long season, so adding it to the garden is a good way for kids to try something that may not be their favorite vegetable. You also do not have to worry about dedicating lot of space in the garden to it.
8. Snap Peas
Quick-growing sugar snap peas are wonderful for kids because they allow them to see the fruits (or in this case vegetables) of their labor faster than many other plants. They’re also crisp and sweet which makes them great raw snacks or cooked as part of a meal.
9. Sweet Corn
While it’s not the easiest vegetable to grow, if you succeed in growing sweet corn, it will be well worth the work. The best corn is that which is plucked straight from the garden and eaten right away. And with so many ways to prepare it, from fresh on the cob to salads and more, the whole family will want some. Gardening is always a learning experience and adding a trickier plant into the mix is certain to provide many lessons for both you and your kids about what factors affect the success of your plants.
Heading to the pumpkin patch every fall is great fun, but what is even more fun is having it be in your own back yard. Pumpkins do require a bit of space to grow, but growing them is very rewarding. In addition to carving jack-o-lanterns they grew themselves, the kids will also love roasting pumpkin seeds and making pumpkin pie straight from the garden.
Listen to the latest Green Divas in the Garden podcast for more great gardening tips…
~Asst. Ed. Green Diva Christine