Vegetable gardening is becoming very popular for a variety of reasons: it gives people a chance to get back to nature and enjoy being part of the great outdoors; it reduces carbon footprint of the food we are eating, saving money and the planet at the same time, and certainly it is a good way to educate and bond with children. Kids are also far more likely to eat vegetables they have grown themselves, and are less likely to turn up their noses a on being presented with something green at the dinner table!
Many vegetables are easy for kids to grow, especially if a helpful parent has done some of the legwork of ground preparation beforehand! Young children will enjoy sprinkling lettuce seeds along a row; they will delight in watching the tiny green shoots coming through after just a couple of weeks, and being able to pick their prized greenery for tea after about 3 or 4 weeks. Older children can cope better with a longer delay between planting and harvesting, as well as being more able to cope with slightly more difficult ground preparation. They also love filling patio containers to grow anything from potatoes to strawberries.
Choose something that grows easily and thrives wherever you live. There are few things more discouraging than to go to the effort to plant something and look after it, only to find that it gets eaten alive, or it just doesn’t grow. To keep children’s interest, choose a vegetable that grows quickly and needs little looking after.
If you have a greenhouse and want to grow from seed indoors, give them their own pots for seedlings to look after until they are large enough to plant out. Let them do the planting out with a little supervision, and try not to interfere too much! They may not be perfectly planted, but nature is marvellous and plants will usually find a way to grow.
Make sure they are involved with watering and regular inspection of the vegetables, so that they do not get the chance to lose interest. When it comes to harvest time, ensure the youngster is involved in picking the plant. There really is nothing to equal that feeling for a young child of picking a vegetable that they have grown, preparing it, or watching it being prepared, then it being presented for tea. Watch and wait for the greens to be eaten without a fuss!