Spring is known as the season of new growth, so why not make the most of that and start cultivating your own family food sources? Now is a great time of year to plant so many varieties of fruit and veg! Not only can you save money at the veggie shop, but you can create habits and hobbies for your family. Let's look at how you can grow your own vegetable garden together as a family.
Age Is Just A Number
It doesn't matter how old your kids are, they are never too young to learn about things. While the wee ones might need a bit more supervision (or a lot more supervision haha), they can still become keen little hunter gatherers!
Essentially growing your own vegetable garden is playing in the dirt, and kids seem to have a magnetic attract to dirt. They also get to learn by doing, explore things with their hands and see the real fruits of their labour (excuse the pun!)
Tips to grow your own vegetable garden with the kids…
Speed is of the essence
If your kids are first time gardeners, they are going to want to see action as quickly as possible. So try to plant at least one thing that grows quickly to prevent them from losing interest. Experiment with baby spinach and lettuce because they sprout quickly and do well in spring. Just watch out for those snails and caterpillars as they love lettuce too!
Give them space
By giving them their own space to grow a vegetable garden, you are proving to them that you value their contribution and trust them to succeed. Shhhh, don't tell them the reason is also because you can protect the more delicate plants in a different area!
Relish this fun time that you get to spend together. Talk about what you will grow, how you will plant it and the growth progress when it is in the ground. Set aside gardening time so that things don't become neglected and so that you can enjoy each others company.
The project should not become a chore, so keep it fun and enjoyable. Keep thinking about the end product and getting to enjoy delicious meals together.
Let them choose
The kids will be more excited about the process if they get to choose what they plant. There are things that you can plant all year round, so give them options of what will grow best for the time of year that you are planting.
They will be more excited about growing something that they like, rather than something they should eat. So be prepared to have snow peas and corn for every meal, probably not brussel sprouts!
It is going to take some practice to get this growing food thing down pat. Smooth the process by growing something easy like herbs. They sprout fast, are generally easy care and you can dry them so that they keep longer.
Can you dig it?
Kids love digging, whether it is in the sandpit, at the beach, or in the mud. Give them permission to dig in the vegetable garden at the appropriate time too. Searching through the dirt for potatoes that have been planted is a little bit like hunting for roastable treasure!
You can even plant some carrots for a wash and go instant snack in the garden.
Give them the right tools
By giving them plastic garden tools from the $2 shop, you are basically telling your kids that you don’t take their gardening skills seriously. And how much digging can they truly do with something that is going to break in 5 minutes?
Get them the proper tools of the trade to foster their habit. For little hands you can get miniature versions from a gardening shop or a hardware store. Gardening tools also come in a range of colours, so each child could have a different coloured tool to prevent fighting.
Keep them involved
Don’t let them plant the seeds and then lose all interest, leaving you to water and care for the plants. Keep them involved with watering, weeding and nurturing from seed to fruit. This will teach them responsibility and will give them an added sense of satisfaction when they actually get to eat the produce at the end.
Build a scarecrow… not a snowman
While probably not 100% necessary, building a scarecrow is a fun task you can do together as a family. Give him a funny outfit, make him look like someone you know, or turn him into a character.
You know that you are proud of your kids all the time, but show them that you are proud of their efforts. You can do this by congratulating them, taking photos of their handy work, showing friends and family what they have achieved, and having a vege dinner party when it is time to harvest everything.
Easy Plants To Grow
Try these plants as a starting point for your veggie garden, they are easy to grow for little hands.
Strawberries: Oh thank goodness these are easy to grow because they are so delicious and a firm kid-favourite! They also ripen at different times, so you can check for fruit every day.
Potatoes: A different kind of plant growing for the kids as they grow mostly underground, they will be fascinated by the process and hunting for the veggies when they are grown.
Cabbage: Fast growing and hardy, you will be able to see them grow quickly.
Sunflowers: Beautiful and nutritious. You don’t just have to grow veggies, you can grow seeds to harvest too!