Nurturing and growing vegetables in your own garden is fun. Getting children involved in the process teaches them so much, a love of nature, a real understanding of vegetables, where they come from and how good they can taste. Start off with a patch of land (or pots) in a nice sunny position. Add a label spike for each different group of veggies along with your child’s name – it’s a great way to encourage responsibility and ownership.
Here are four yummy veggies to kick start the kids gardening program:
Strawberries are delicious, colourful, sweet, and loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. There won’t be any groans and moans when the children are asked to check for ripe strawberries, though we’re not sure how many will actually reach the kitchen. Just be aware strawberries do attract a lot of bugs. Don’t locate your strawberries too close to the other vegetables, and do give them a good dose of DIY non chemical bug killer.
Carrots straight from the garden are totally different to the ones you buy in the shop. The kids will love digging them up. Get them to wash them under the hose – no need to be peeled. The crispness and sweetness of home grown carrots will win over any child who has in the past not been thrilled about eating them.
3. Baby tomatoes
Another big winner with children are home grown baby tomatoes. Tomato plants do need some support. And do check the ‘many’ different varieties and what they offer. How fast they mature, are they disease resistant are two important components. Some miniature plants can produce ripe fruit in 45 – 55 days.
4. Snap peas
Snap peas also require support. Peas will germinate usually in two weeks, which will delight kids who want to see action fast. Snap peas are so delicious eaten uncooked or cooked. Seeing your child munching on a ‘green’ vegetable and enjoying it, is every parent’s wish!
Nurseries and hardware shops carry a huge range of vegetable seeds, punnets of baby veggie plants and don’t forget the plant supports. Follow the instructions carefully when planting as you want this experience to be a positive one – it is not much fun if nothing grows.
Chemicals are without doubt are no in your children’s vegetable patch. If you have good rotted animal manure dug into the soil you don’t want or need any chemical fertilizers. See DIY recipe below for no bugs.
DIY – No bugs!
Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of fresh cooking oil (if you have garlic olive oil even better, bugs don’t like garlic). A solution of 4 teaspoons of concentrate diluted with 1 pint of water in a spray bottle is effective