It is fair to say that gardening is not as popular as it used to be.
Many children simply never get the chance to spend anytime gardening. Schools have attempted to address with many running courses in outdoor education, but getting kids involved at home is also a great way to pass some of the holidays and an excellent opportunity to help them understand where some foods come from. So how do you start getting kids involved in gardening?
First of all, it really doesn’t matter whether you live in a flat or have a large backyard. There is still plenty of ways you can grow things with your kids. If you live in a flat and do not have outside space you can grow many veggies indoors just using plant pots or even old margarine tubs and milk bottles. For those with outdoor space, it is nice to create a small area for the children, so they do not feel overwhelmed.
Do They Like It?
One of the first rules of growing food with children is to grow things you know they will eat. So carrots and beans are often a favourite starting point. Tomatoes make a excellent veg for children to grow especially as you can now get different coloured tomatoes which makes a great conversation point and keeps them interested. Maybe have one veg they have yet to try so that they are also expanding their food range.
Go for Speed
Pick plants that grow quickly and scatter these in with slower growing things. Children can get easily bored if they cannot see progress. Why not consider having a sunflower growing contest as well as trying your hand at some veggies. If you have more than one child, this is a great competition, and if you only have one little one, then you will just have to grow a sunflower too to compete. Courgettes are one of the fastest going veggies, so this could be an excellent place to start.
The Weird and Wonderful
What about trying to grow some fo the more unusual looking plants. As mentioned above you can get different coloured tomatoes which will pique their interest. You can get raspberries in yellow and courgettes in two-tone colours so you will be able to generate an element of surprise when it comes to seeing their final product and more importantly the taste testing. You may find they are reluctant to try something that doesn’t look as they expect but that is part of the fun.
What Do They Think
A sure-fire way to get cooperative kids is to make sure they have a say. Ask them what they would like to grow and maybe reach a compromise that you each choose two items to grow. Obviously, not all plants grow well, but this is a chance to teach them about the life cycle of plants. Remember to involve them in preparing the newly harvested vegetables, as this can then spill over into cooking together and making meals.