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Hi! My name is Chris, and I'm writing this blog to share my passion...nature!
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grow something edible!

Children may try something new if they have a hand in growing it.

If you haven’t tried growing vegetables or herbs, give it a “go” by picking one edible thing that would grow well in the space you have. Growing your own food is a wonderful experience for children. It provides a chance to be out in nature together, shows them how things grow and what kind of care a plant needs to grow and produce, and gives them the personal satisfaction of eating something they’ve grown themselves. It can also get children interested in fruits and vegetables they normally don’t (or won’t) eat.


I’ve noticed that my son is more likely to try something new if he picked it (or grew it) himself.  For example, when he was little he wouldn’t eat apples. I was surprised since it’s typically a popular fruit with kids. No matter how hard I tried at offering them, he’d taste them, but wouldn’t eat them. Then when he was 3 we started taking a yearly trip to a local apple orchard where you can pick over 15 varieties of apples. Something about that trip clicked with him and he took a bite of every variety of apple that we picked! He’s been eating apples ever since.

This happened again with green shelling peas. We started growing them in our garden last year and getting our son involved with picking and shelling them prompted him to try them again, on his own. He’s been eating them ever since.


We do the planning together too.  Early in spring we go through the gardening catalogs and decide what we’re going to grow. Living in Wisconsin, with a somewhat short growing season, we start much of our seeds indoors. We have a pretty small garden, but as usual I’ve got about 60 seedlings growing in little peat pots in my living room. And we’ll find a space for them, we always do. Last year we had the majority of our vegetables in our small backyard garden, but we also grew herbs in beautiful pots on our deck, and red peppers hung from our deck in those new upside-down plant holders you see in the market.

Another space we utilized was the edging of our flower garden.   We found a wonderful mini Alpine strawberry that grows great as a border plant. It comes up early, seems to be fairly resilient, is nice to look at, and gives us berries. We have also tilled up a few sunny spots here and there in the yard where tomatoes have really flourished. Be creative in where you grow your garden…you may find you have more room than you think!

We experiment and try planting new things in new places each year. Many vegetables can be successfully grown in containers and pots. We also saved room in our garden by making a tepee-shaped trellis for the cucumbers to climb. Behind it, you can also see the sticks leaning up against the fence, which our snap peas use for climbing.

Of course we don’t grow every type of vegetable…we don’t have the space (or the climate) for it. But I love that we’re teaching our son where food comes from in our own small way. We also do this by shopping at local farmers markets, farms and food stands. You can also try taking your children to the grocery store with you and letting them pick out some fruits and vegetables. Try picking out a new fruit or vegetable to taste each month!

I hope you’ll consider growing something edible this season! Drop me a note if growing food with your children got them eating something new!

Please feel free to leave me comments!

Have a great idea that I didn't include?

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Just let me know in the “comments” section, thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like the post A Springtime Scavenger Hunt.

To reference this post directly, use this link.


  1. We just got started planting this past weekend. We've got carrots & radishes so far, plus sunflowers. We're also going to plant tomatoes & potatoes & who knows what else! My 5 1/2 year old is excited every day to run out to our containers to see what's sprouting (of course nothing, yet). Still, I like his enthusiasm! Hope he'll be as eager to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

  2. That's great! Isn't it fun when they're so excited about something?! This year we tried using a heat mat for germinating the seeds, and WOW did we have great results. The tomatoes were sprouting and over an inch tall after 4 days!! And the peppers that normally took weeks to sprout were coming up in less than a week. We're doing potatoes this year too (the first time with our son). We're also trying garlic. I'm so excited to get outside and plant everything, but so far we just put the carrots and lettuce out. Too cold here yet. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. My kids love to help me in the garden. Picking rhubarb, planting seeds and of course picking and eating all of the garden veggies later in the summer. Can you tell I'm a little ga-ga for gardening? And I do think it helps my kids make healthier food choices. They like eating the things they have grown!