How to encourage your children to grow vegetables in the garden
Nice article from the Telegraph gardening section – James Clark, gardener at the Eden Project, Cornwall, gives his advice on how to get children growing vegetables
James Clark is a gardener at the Eden Project in Cornwall and looks after the Global Gardens, an exhibit which highlights the diversity, inclusivity and importance of allotments in the UK as well as pushing the boundaries of what can be grown in Britain. Part of James’s job is to try to inspire people – young and old – to give vegetable growing a go.
Here are his top tips for encouraging your children to grow their own vegetables.
Make it quick
To keep kids interested it’s great to grow veg that show signs of life very quickly, so try vegetables that can then be harvested swiftly.
Radishes are among the quickest of all vegetables, they will germinate in just a few days and can be harvested in a few weeks. Other vegetables such as beetroot, mixed salad leaves, first early potatoes and peas all get going very quickly, can be harvested when they are still young and, in the case of peas, you can eat the tips too.
Keep it simple
It’s best to create a specific area for children to grow things in, so try raised beds and containers.
It’s easy for little arms to reach in to sow and harvest, they are easy to maintain – plus, vegetables can be grown in any size container, from a Wellington boot to an old bath tub.
Some vegetables are grown from very small seeds, which can be fiddly and difficult for little fingers to deal with, so try sticking to larger seeds. Potatoes, beans and peas are great and simple to plant, but radish, beetroot and spinach have large seeds which are easy to sow too.
Have some fun
Kids love things that are bit quirky, colourful and different, so why not choose vegetable varieties that are a bit of a change from the norm?
Pink Fir Apple potatoes are amazing, they are all knobbly, weird (and sometimes a little rude) and they also taste great.
Children will also love growing Beetroot ‘Chioggia’, they are pink and stripy when they are cut open and Tomato ‘Pear Drops’ actually taste like pear drops….honest!
Enjoy the food
It’s amazing what kids will actually eat when they have grown it themselves and of course vegetables taste so much better when they are fresh.
Children will love unearthing buried treasure in the form of potatoes, eating peas straight out of the pod and crunching on carrots that they have just pulled out of the ground.
Just get out there and give it a try – seeds and a bag of compost are very cheap, it’s much easier than you think and in no time at all you will be enjoying loads of fresh, nutritious and delicious vegetables with your family.