Jun
10

3 Easy Garden Plants for Kids

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I found this wonderful article on gardening for kids by Melissa and it was on a Canadian gardening site called The Garden Post.

IMG_6780 I have grown to love gardening . Not only is it relaxing and rewarding, but it is also a great learning tool for children. My boys have grown to love our garden as much (or even more) than I do. I think it is a good lesson for them to learn to care and take responsibility of maintaining a garden. It also helps them understand where their food comes from, and can help them try new foods (and have fun in the kitchen!)

However, I know that all plants are not created equal and therefore are harder than others. So, here is a list of 3 types of plants that should be easy to grow for kids (and beginners):

Herbs

IMG_6781 In my experience, one of the easiest (and tastiest!) is basil. This plant likes full sun and plenty of water. It also tolerates the heat in AZ very well, so it is a good plant for beginners. Basil is also a great herb to add to pasta , salad, or pizza. You can even make your own pesto sauce!

Parsley is also a hardy herb that will continue to grow with sun and water. Actually, I have way more parsley than I know what to do with- so I’m always looking for new recipes on this one! A few other herbs you may want to try include: cilantro, oregano, mint, rosemary, and thyme.

The best part about herbs is that you can grow them in a pot, so if you don’t have a yard (or a limited yard) you can still enjoy a little gardening.

Peppers

IMG_6777 There are many varieties of peppers available. Jalapenos are pretty hardy and you can get plenty from just one plant. You can make jalapeno poppers, jelly, bread, or just add them to your favorite dish to spice it up.

Not sure if you want that much spice? Green bell peppers are a fairly easy plant, too. I’ve noticed they can start to wilt if they don’t get enough water, especially in hot conditions, so make sure you remember to water consistently. I’ve also tried red and yellow bell peppers, but green are the most hardy, so you may want to start with these first.

Just a word of caution: Peppers will cross pollinate if they are next to each other, so keep them separate if you are planning on having different types (or even colors), or you will end up with big-round-spicy-red-bell-jalapenos, like I did last year!

Tomatoes

IMG_6785 Amazingly, tomatoes are an easy plant that love to grow. I’ve had better luck so far with cherry tomatoes in Arizona, but I am trying two other varieties this year as well. Cherry tomato plants spread out, so make sure you get a trellis and give it plenty of room. They also need full sun and plenty of water.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any growing at first- they take a little while longer to start, but when they do, you’ll have dozens of tomatoes growing. These are also fun to watch grow each day and eventually involve the kids in picking. Plus, they fresh tomatoes make are wonderful to add to salsa, pizza, pasta, or salad.

That is my list- what would you add to this list? What is easy to grow and maintain? What have you found to be exciting for kids to plant, grow, and pick?

 

-Melissa

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