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!
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.
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.
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.