Growing your own fresh produce must rank highly as one of the most rewarding home projects you can undertake. Even more so if you have young children around! Not only will a veggie garden provide hours of entertainment as they get their little fingers deep in the soil, but they will learn a few key life skills while they’re at it.
Why you should make your own veggie garden (and include your kids)
- One of the best things about growing your own produce is the deep sense of satisfaction you’ll enjoy when eating your home-grown goodies.
- Children are far more likely to eat veggies that they’ve grown themselves, encouraging a lifelong love for veggies from a young age!
- Your veggie garden will keep them entertained for hours!
- They’ll learn about nature as well some basic gardening skills.
- You’ll save time and money on fresh produce. There’s no need to stop off at the store just because you’ve run out of tomatoes or lettuce.
- You can be sure you aren’t ingesting any frightening pesticides or harmful toxins.
Growing your own veggies: 101
As South Africans, we are blessed with the perfect climate to grown a variety of produce. And there are many herbs and veggies that flourish with very little attention. Spinach, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and tomatoes are some of the most rewarding vegetables to grow. Green beans are another great addition to a kid’s vegetable garden, as they can pick and snack on them whenever they want.
So how do you get started? You’ll need to pay a visit to your local nursery for a few supplies. Seedlings, soil, compost and some basic gardening tools are all you need to get started.
Next, you’ll want to decide where you want to put your veggie garden. You don’t even need a lot of space to get started. Using a variety of window boxes and pots, you can grown all kinds of fresh, organic goodies that will keep your family well nourished, without taking up your entire garden space. It’s all about tailoring your garden to suit the space you have!
Depending on the ages of your children, you might want to include them in the selection and basic planning of the garden. They can definitely help with preparing the soil, planting the seedlings and watering and feeding the soil!
Getting the kids involved: some tips
Children of all ages can get involved in the veggie garden project at varying levels. A few tips for child friendly veggie gardens:
- Make it theirs: One of the best ways to encourage a sense of involvement and responsibility is to create a small veggie garden that belongs to them. Make it a special area that is theirs. Keep their produce separate in old kid’s splash pools (with drainage holes added) or an old tire. The sense of ownership will only increase the pride they feel when the veggies start flourishing.
- Break difficult tasks down: Kids can help with all aspects of gardening, provided the more (difficult) tasks are broken down into smaller segments. Planting and watering are fun activities, while preparing the soil and weeding are a little more laborious. Consider interspersing a few minutes of weeding with a longer watering or fruit-picking session.
- Splurge on a few fun accessories: A sweet little SpongeBob watering can or themed spade set, a few kids gardening tools and perhaps even a garden gnome or two can really add to the magic of gardening.
Set aside some time to begin your veggie garden and introduce your children to the pleasure of fresh, organic produce for life.
–This emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown. – Alice B. Toklas