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The Joy of Growing Veggies With Kids!

(3 minute read)

A mum and child gardening

The first holidays of the year can seem like a long time coming after a long dark January… But it can be the perfect time to start a growth spurt for you and your little ones - not in height but in seedlings! With loads of benefits to growing your own veg, we explore some quick and easy crops to grow with your little ones this spring break. 

Now is a great time of year to start growing crops, ready to harvest throughout the summer. Providing a much needed connection to nature, bringing your little ones in on the job can provide many benefits: fresh food, help with cooking, the joys of seeing something you have cared for grow and flourish - not to mention that tomatoes from the vine are SO much tastier than the ones from the super market - and are super easy to grow! 

I recommend starting with one easy veg if you’re a complete beginner when it comes to gardening and there are plenty of videos online to help guide you if you get stuck. I have selected a few of my favourites to talk about here. 

Buy seeds that you can plant together so that your kid can witness the full lifecycle of a plant - a great teaching point that will help them out in school too! Courgettes are super fast to grow from seed - just six weeks and you can potentially have your first crop. Get your child to simply drop the seeds into seed tray to start them off indoors early, then show them how to choose the strong ones to transplant into bigger pots (compost the weaker ones). You’ll need to wait until warmer weather to plant them out in the garden, but then just feed them weekly for a good crop. If you don;t have a garden, you can plant them in a large pot at least 45 cm high and 45 cm wide. Your child can start to harvest them when the courgettes are 10cm long - a good chance to practise their mathematical measuring skills too!

Salad leaves are extremely easy to grow from seed, with rocket having large enough seeds for small hands to manage. They can be grown in a window box, meaning you only need a windowsill to start the process. Salad is especially rewarding as it will keep cropping for weeks, especially if you stagger the planting, allowing plenty of healthy dinners while you have a supply! You’ll need to harvest those leaves with scissors though, so adult-assistance may be required for this job. 

With tomatoes, you can actually scoop out the seeds from an existing tomato, but you’ll need to harvest and dry them in advance. Growing them from seed requires a bit more work, planting in seed pots to start them off indoors, then planting out once they have established themselves. Much easier to buy tomato plants that have gone through the difficult seedling part and have been given a good start in life. Encourage your child to water and feed them with tomato food throughout the summer, and pick the fresh sweet red beauties as they fruit.

See this article for more details on how to grow easy crops.

If you’re already playing Teach Your Monster Adventurous Eating, your child may have some idea of the growth cycle of a plant from the garden in the game. Of course, we had to speed up the process in the game so they’d probably have a wildly unrealistic idea of how quick this process is! Planting veg with your kid is a great teaching point for them, to see this in real-time from seed to plate and literally eat the fruits of their labour!

Kay Leathers
Freelance writer and designer

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