Gardening With Kids: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Growing vegetables with children via Childhood 101

Immy loves our vegetable garden. I am not sure if I can actually call it a vegetable ‘garden’ as it is really vegetables planted in between the plants in the regular garden and in a few large pots. We are currently renting a home and so this is how our garden grows. I have previously recommended planting vegetables as a useful strategy for encouraging toddler eating and it is a lesson that I think is invaluable for all children – learning where our food comes from. If you would like to give setting up a vegetable garden with your children a go, here are some tips and hints to help get things started…

Use the space you have wisely
As we are kind of limited in what we can plant due to the space restrictions, we have stuck to vegetables that we eat  a lot of – broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, capsicum, cherry tomatoes and an assortment of the more common herbs. We are lucky that there are also a couple of lemon trees already in the garden. When choosing what to plant, also consider which vegetables your children like to eat and start out with growing those.

Involve your children in planting and maintaining the space
Immy loves it when I suggest each day that we go outside to check our vegies. She comes with me to inspect each plant scattered around the garden, helps me pull out weeds and checks for snails, slugs and caterpillars (all of which have plagued us at various times). And she loves to water with the watering can!

Growing vegetables with kids via Childhood 101

Help children see the results of their labour quickly
We chose to plant seedlings rather than seeds so that we could see (and taste) the results more quickly. Planting in pots has actually worked to our advantage as we can chase the sunny spots around the garden as the seasons change and the sun moves.

Learn together
Dad 101 and I are by no means green thumbs and we have had to research and implement a range of child friendly pest control methods – I never knew that beer was useful for eliminating snails and slugs, and child friendly fertilising options – who would have thought urine is good for citrus trees! It has been a really lovely learning journey for all of us. We also have plans to start a compost bin and possibly a worm farm so the real life learning can continue.

Growing vegetables with children via Childhood 101
Talk about the process of growing your own food
Each night when we sit down to dinner we talk about the the vegetables we are eating and Immy points out the window to our garden, at seventeen months she is already making the connection that we eat vegetables that grow in the garden. This is so important to learning about the world and so valuable to the fight of teaching our children how to make varied, healthy eating choices.

So my challenge to you is to plant a vegetable with your child this weekend. Take a trip to a local nursery and choose a seedling (or two) to plant together. Nurture it, watch it grow, learn together.

Why not leave a comment below to let me know what you are planting at your house.

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  1. mum space says:

    Your broc looks great. Our kids love their veggie garden and you are so right about it encouraging healthy eating. Our daughter has been regularly snacking on raw spinach out of the garden lately. We were lucky enough to get some nice weather on Saturday so we did a bit of a clean up and planted some carrots and brussels sprouts.

  2. Marilyn says:

    We're doing the same at our place. Renting too, and we inherited a lemon, a mandarin and an orange tree.

    We don't have lots of sun coming into our backyard and we're not great gardeners either, but we've still managed to get some broccoli, beetroot, cabbages, carrots, rocket, thyme, parsley, basil, sage and coriander out of it.

    It's so satisfying to list them like that! And it's definitely satisfying for the whole family involved in growing and eating the fruits of our (sporatic) labour.

  3. Christie Burnett says:

    Thank you for your comments, we ae adding baby spinach to our list of things to grow next. Along with strawberries, not that I think they will last long on the plant before Immy steals them!


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