When children take part in growing a garden, they grow as well. With each seed they plant, their coordination develops, their senses expand, and their perspective changes. They make a positive impact on the environment and increase their self-esteem.
When you garden with your children, you are not only forming a lasting bond, but you are giving them the tools they need to lead to live their most productive, independent, and compassionate lives.
Here are some of the most easy-to-grow plants for your beginner gardener.
1. Snap Peas: Snap peas don’t just snap when you open them, they grow in a snap, too. Kids love to grow snap peas because you can eat them right off the vine and they have that irresistible crunch that puts potato chips to shame. They only take 10 days to germinate and mature in 60 days, so children don’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits, or veggies, of their labor.
2. Cherry Tomatoes: You serve your kids cherry tomatoes all the time, so when they find out they can actually grow them in their gardens, they feel like their making an extra valuable contribution. They’re not just kids anymore, they’re actually putting food on the table! Just make sure to give them plenty of sunlight, and count on your kids to give them lots of love.
3. Sunflowers: Children love sunflowers because they grow almost as high as they are. Dwarf flowers reach up to three and four feet at full height, which means that the eye of the sunflower will just about be eye level to your little one. When buying the seeds, look for the confectionary varieties, so kids can have fun munching while they’re planting.
4. Pumpkin: If children starts growing a pumpkin the late spring or early summer, they can expect to have their own jack- o-lantern in time for October. Pumpkins appeal to kids in lots of ways, their orange, they’re big, they’re spooky, and they make great pies.
6. Carrots: Carrot sticks have great associations for kids - they’re orange, bunnies like them, and they’re high in crunch factor. Carrots can also be grown directly in the ground, so your kids can get some hands-on experience with soil and all of its inhabitants and learn to dig the earth in more ways than one.
7. Nasturniums: There is no better way to boost a child’s self-esteem than to make the flowers he or she grew into a centerpiece for your table. Nasturniums are a feast for all the senses. They are not only fun for children to grow, they have a fragrance kids love, and they’re also edible.
8. Potatoes: Ever since Mr. Potato head appeared on the market, there has been an affinity between kids and potatoes, and that affinity will only grow stronger when kids grow them themselves. Potatoes are a good choice for planting with kids because they are low maintenance and have a high success rate. This “never fail” crop and can be grown in either the red or white variety, although children tend to prefer red.
9. Radishes: Wherever there is moist, fertile soil, there can be radishes, which makes them one of the easiest crops for children to grow. They’re hot in taste, and woody in texture, which makes them an adventure in not only in growing, but in eating as well. They may be slow to mature, but they may also serve to teach your kids the value of patience.
10. Bush Beans: There are two types of green beans, bush beans and pole beans. Pole beans grow so tall, they need to rely on a pole for support, bush beans grow on a bush, which makes them a much more practical choice for the child gardener. The “low bush” varieties are perfect for the child who wants to get very down to earth, and they’ll get a feeling of satisfaction, no beans about it.
So, are you ready to put your overalls on and help your kids “dig in?” They may not turn to be gardeners, but they will develop into caring, intelligent, curious, and thoughtful people, and you will be able to honestly say you played a big role in helping them to grow.