My top 5 picks for Veggies to grow with kids
My top 5 picks for Veggies to grow with kids:
1. Snap Peas: They come in many different varieties, some require something to climb and others are called bush, meaning they can support themselves. They are easily planted by little fingers and require nothing more than a little water and some sun. The entire pod is edible, eat them right off the plant, cook them, or if you have to many they are great in the freezer to be added to meals later on.
2. Cherry Tomatoes: As you know tomato seeds are quite small and the seeds need to be started early indoors or in a green house so they can be hardened before transplanting into their garden bed for the summer. If you aren’t starting from seed choose a healthy, well established plant from your garden center or farmers market. We have had great luck with ‘Sweet 100′s’ and ‘Grape’. They are a perfect size for the kids to pick and enjoy straight off the plant, and each plant can produce a good quanity of fruit. One thing I would reccomend if you decide on growing tomatoes is purchasing a cage for each plant for support. They are inexpensive and can be used for many years.
3.Pumpkins: Who doesn’t love going to the pumpkin patch in October? I know it has become a family tradition for us, we do however grow a few in the yard. They are sun loving plants, so make sure to plant them somewhere were they can soak as much sun up during the day as they can. The seeds are easy for the kids to plant, and the vines crawling across the ground are fun to watch. The large leaves, yellow/orange flower and eventually the growing pumpkins are sure to bring a smile to your child’s face. Especially on Halloween when they have picked their own home grown pumpkin to carve.
4. Carrots: Easy to grow, and they now come in a few different colors. We stick to the classic orange but we plant a couple types. Adam tends to eat carrots like they are going out of style, so if we have a few inches in the garden left over we always sow in a few more seeds to make the most of our garden space. Although carrots are slow growing, they are great fun for the kids to pull out of the ground. They tend to like loose/sandy soil which allows them to grow easily. Make sure to thin them out to allow a decent crop to grow. Encourage your child to pull them out of the ground, it’s always a bit of a surprise to see their shape and size. Nothing beats the taste of your own carrots!
5. Potatoes: I think Potatoes are one of my favorites to grow too! We usually buy a few different seed potatoes to grow each year, and have also experimented with growing a few potatoes that we have let grow ‘eyes’. A few of our favorites are, Banana, Purple Russian, Russet. Each seed potato gets buried and covered in a hole that is approximately 4′ deep. Once the plant is tall enough, hill up dirt around it to keep the tubers covered and the plant will continue growing and producing potatoes. When the foilage has died down you know it’s time to harvest. Encourage your child to grab a shovel and help you dig! This year Ben grabbed his shovel and his wheelbarrow to help me harvest our first crop. We worked together turning the dirt, reaching down to gather our potato treasure.His
wheelbarrow came in quite handy to load them up and take them to be washed before laying them out to air dry.
-Please note- The Leaves, flowers and sprouts that form after the flower dies is TOXIC. Children should be watched with care if you decide to grow them as the plant can not be eaten and should not be touched by little fingers.-
I have to sneak in a quick note about berries, in our garden we have strawberries, raspberries and tayberries. All are easy to grow, but I would highly recommend raspberry canes if you have a spot or a few strawberry plants. (You can purchase a strawberry pot if you are running low on space) I love seeing the kids, our friend’s included run about the yard searching for the brillant red berries, and popping them in their mouths. Always a big hit.
I highly encourage you to get your kids outside and in the garden! We are fortunate to have a larger sized yard, but it’s amazing what even a few containers can do. Grab a few seeds and give it a try…you might just get hooked into growing your own produce!