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.
WHAT TO PLANT…AND WHERE TO PLANT IT.
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.
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If you enjoyed this post, you might like the post A Springtime Scavenger Hunt.
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