As the weather starts to get warmer in springtime, it’s the perfect time to start growing seasonal fruits and veggies. For parents, growing herbs, vegetables, and fruits with younger children is a great way to get kids outside, active, and engaged with healthy eating.
But some plants can take a long time to grow, and kids’ attention spans aren’t known for being long. So what should you look for in a veggie garden to grow with kids? A quick time to grow is an important factor, and you should try to find hardy plants that can stand up to an unseasonably cold day or a heavy rainstorm.
Here are a few plants that you can grow with kids, along with nutritious, tasty recipes to make with the fruits and veggies you grow.
Peas, which are good to plant in early spring, are one of the best veggies to grow with kids, because they can be eaten as snap peas straight off the vine (after washing them off, of course.) To grow them as snow peas, harvest your peas while they’re very young, and to use them as English peas, wait until the peas get big inside of their pods.
It’s important to remember that the seeds are not edible – so if you’re planting with very young children, make sure they don’t put them in their mouths, and wash their hands after handling the seeds.
About two to three months after you’ve planted them, you’ll have delicious peas to eat plain or cook tasty meals with. Try this Snow Pea and Mizuna Stir Fry and this Snap Pea Salad With Almonds in an Herbed Vinaigrette.
This leafy green loves cool weather in the early spring and autumn. It can even survive a light frost! Lettuce grows quickly, in about 45 to 55 days, so you can plant a little at a time, and it’s perfect for growing in a patio pot if you don’t have room for a garden. Give your lettuce plenty of water to keep its soil moist! You can also sprinkle it with extra water if the leaves look like they’re wilting in the daytime heat.
Radishes are a quick-growing veggie that only takes about 40 to 45 days to grow! Plus, kids will have fun pulling these root vegetables from the ground when it’s time to harvest. They’ll germinate in just a few days if planted in spring.
Carrots are a delicious veggie to plant in spring. Make it even more fun by planting rainbow carrots in lots of different colors like orange, yellow, and purple. Carrots take about 2 to 3 months to grow, so they take a little bit of patience, but they’re well worth it.
Potatoes vary widely in how long they take to grow, ranging from 70 to 120 days. You can plant them in early spring to have some potatoes ready to eat by the summer. Potatoes are a fun plant for kids to grow because sprouting potatoes can be something like a science project. You just have to put your seed potato in sunlight until sprouts begin to form before transporting it to your garden where it will grow into a new potato plant.
6. Green Beans
Green beans are another fun plant to grow, as kids will enjoy watching them snake up a pole as they grow. They’re also quick, taking only about 65 to 75 days to grow. Green beans are good to plant in warmer weather, so wait until the risk of frost is gone before starting them.
7. Cherry Tomatoes
Small tomatoes like cherry or grape tomatoes are easy to grow and don’t take as long as larger varieties. These will take about 65 to 70 days to grow. They’re perfect bite-size fruits for eating right off the vine.
When it’s a little warmer, plant cucumbers! They only take about 50 to 70 days to grow and they love a lot of water.
Even if some kids don’t like the taste of plain cucumber, homegrown cucumbers are the perfect start to doing your own at-home pickling project. You can pick which spices you’ll pickle your cucumbers in, to pick how spicy you want your pickles to be!
In late spring and early summer, you can plant strawberries for a quick-growing, tasty fruit. Strawberries take about 60 days to grow, and they’ll be a big hit with kids because of their sweet taste.
It’s faster to grow strawberries with a transplant than seeds, which will help kids be able to watch the fruit as they get bigger and red.
Looking for a warm-weather herb to grow? Try adding some basil to your garden! There are a number of different types of basil including sweet basil, purple basil, lemon basil, and thai basil, so be sure to do some research to decide which variety is best for you.
You can get a head start on growing your basil by starting it indoors in early spring, and then planting it outside later when the weather gets warmer, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Basil’s a very quick plant to grow, taking between eight to 14 days to emerge from the soil, and then two to three more weeks after that to grow its first set of true leaves.
Growing fruits, veggies, and herbs with your children is a great way to get them involved with an outdoor activity and help them learn about where different foods come from. Plus, they’ll be more likely to try eating a new vegetable when they grew it themselves!
For more info on starting your own edible garden this spring, take a look at these seasonal spring veggies, as well as this beginner’s guide to growing your own produce. Good luck with your new garden!
For more plant-based cooking tips, download the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day.
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