Kid's Gardening

may18-kids-main

Getting kids to eat their greens can often feel like fighting a losing battle, but getting them excited about vegetables could be as easy as passing them a spade.

“I don’t like that” is a phrase heard at dinner tables nightly across the country. And it is most often said in response to something we desperately want our kids to eat. Like vegetables.

Angie Thomas, mother of two and horticulture consultant at Yates knows this battle well. She has been “negotiating with fugitives" (now 12 and 9) for years and believes the trick to getting kids excited about the green stuff, lies just outside our back door.

Angie has shared her best tips for getting kids excited about gardening, and ultimately vegetables too.

1. Choose child-friendly plants

“Picking plants that are easier for kids to handle is a great place to start,” says Angie.

“Snow pea seeds are big and easy for little fingers to hold and sow. Your little one can check to see when the seedlings pop through the soil, watch the plants grow and then pick straight from the garden come harvest time. Cherry tomatoes, beans, carrots and baby cucumbers are other great options.

“The secret is encouraging your kids to pick from the plant themselves to help them build a connection with the produce they’re growing. After giving the fruit and vegies a quick rinse under the tap they can eat them then and there in the garden.”

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2. Make it an adventure

Angie believes gardening with kids is all about tapping into their natural curiosity.

“Turn your garden or courtyard into a place of adventure,” she advises.

“Try making a fun area like a teepee, fort or small greenhouse. You could cover it with flowers, vines or climbing beans to make it more of an attraction.

“You can also make seemingly boring garden maintenance fun for kids – like weeding races or a competition for who can dig the best hole! Why not design scavenger hunts for kids to find what seedlings are popping up, or which buds are opening?

The find and seek game will help kids notice the changes in their garden and encourage them to try the fruits and vegies they’ve grown.”

3. No backyard? No worries!

If the extent of your garden is a tiled balcony or paved courtyard don’t be disheartened.

“If you don’t have room for a fruit and vegie patch, you can easily grow lots of edible plants in pots on a veranda or balcony,” explains Angie.

“Delicious strawberries can be grown on a sunny windowsill or why not try alfalfa, bean sprouts or microgreens in a plastic container on the kitchen counter? With produce grown right near the kitchen, it’ll be easier to get kids involved in food preparation during breakfast, lunch or dinner with the fruit and vegies in easy reach.

Cook this: Strawberry and basil shortcake mess

“I let my boys start growing their own seeds in small containers in their bedrooms. They used to wish their bedroom plants goodnight and then wake to see how they’ve transformed overnight.

4. Learn along the way

“If you’re having trouble engaging your kids in the garden they may take more of an interest in trying new fruits and vegies if they’re learning about them along the way. Take your kids for a stroll through the garden and explain each stage of their plant’s life to them,” says Angie.

“If you’re not a green thumb yourself, it’s also a great opportunity to learn some new skills and spend quality time with your youngster as their curiosity blossoms.”

Angie Thomas is the Horticulture Consultant to Yates and proud mum of two boys.


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