Photo Credit: Bailey Van Tassel
Getting in the garden with your littles is not only fun, but can teach them valuable lessons about life without it feeling like a lesson. The trick to making it fun is to let them get dirty and to plant things that bear fruit quickly and frequently.
Three veggies that are both abundant and also easy to care for are: cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and lettuce. To keep your kids interested, be sure to teach them about flowers and buds, which turn into the vegetables and fruit, so they can be on the lookout for new growth as the plant bears fruit.
For tips on planting these fun and easy veggies with your kiddos, read on:
1. Cherry tomatoes
These are small and tasty – perfect for little hands to grab and munch on straight from the vine. Getting kids to eat vegetables is much easier when they grow them themselves and get to pick them.
When you plant your tomatoes, have your child dig the hole, and then loosen the roots. Place the tomato plant in the ground (don’t let them handle any fertilizer as it can be toxic for little bellies) and fill soil in all around. Patting soil down around the new plant is a great little person job.
Once the tomato is planted, you can have them water it at the roots. The next lesson is to be on the lookout for flowers, which will then turn into the tomato fruit. It’s fun to go out and water every morning and see if any tiny tomatoes have popped up!
Okay, so technically strawberries are a fruit, but they can go in the veggie bed too! I recommend getting strawberry plants as seedlings, so that you can see the berries ripen quickly. These require a lot of sun, but the pretty white flowers will turn into a tiny green berry and then a big white strawberry. Once fully grown, the strawberry will go from white to red in just a matter of a few days! Watch you kids light up with anticipation, and then get to enjoy a fresh-picked berry.
3. Lettuce (Buttercrunch or Romaine recommended)
This is a great indoor activity that requires very little maintenance. One night after making a salad, keep one lettuce base (the part you normally throw away) and have your kids put it into a shallow clear glass of water – about ½ inch of water that you can replace every two days.
Roots will form after about three days, and within about 10 days you will have new leaves! They won’t get much taller than they do after about 2 weeks, so go ahead and cut those and use on sandwiches or in a new yummy salad.
To keep your kids active in the garden, be sure to teach them about watering the base of their plants, weeding anything you don’t want growing, and introducing worms and ladybugs to the bed to keep it healthy and pest-free.