Gardening with kids is a great way for them to learn to love being outside, and if they grow their own veggies they will eat them! Once a child is interested in gardening they will be enthusiastic about growing everything, however there are some staple flowers that are easy to grow and give fantastic results making them perfect for children. Sow direct seeds are best for children, and take away a little of the impatience they often feel!
Beans – In the right weather beans don’t take long to produce shoots and children can not only sow direct but can also grow them in pots in their bedroom too. By placing cotton wool in the bottom of a jar and keeping it moist, children can plonk a bean on top and watch the root system come to life giving them a unique insight into a plant’s growing habits. Peas are also a great idea as if the children are eager to taste their harvest as they can pick some pea shoots for a family salad and sit back and enjoy the praise that’s lavished on them!
Caterpillar Plants – Planted in trays and grown in a polytunnel these little plants (Phacelia cicutaria) will propagate quickly and bear flowers almost before children’s eyes. They’ll love the furry appendages; soft to the touch in a variety of colours the flowers on these resemble little furry caterpillars!
Cress – This is an amazing plant for children to grow, and so easy too. Either on cotton wool or straight into compost within a few days it’ll be ready to eat. For a little more fun take one of dad’s old socks fill with cotton wool and dampen, then sprinkle the seeds on the top. The addition of some bobbly eyes makes it look like a hairy monster!
Popping corn – Just by leaving the corn in the veggie patch a little bit longer you can make popping corn for the children. They can grow this from scratch by planting direct and waiting for the cobs to dry out. Bringing it into the house let them choose from a variety of flavours, syrup, vanilla, sugar or just simply plain.
Sunflowers – Let the competitive nature shine with sunflowers, children will love trying to grow the biggest and the giant sizes available ensure they’ll never be disappointed with their efforts. There’s something quite magical for children when producing a flower that’s taller than them.
Venus fly trap – This is a tricky one to grow, however the rewards are amazing. Tapping into a little one’s imagination with a Venus fly trap is a magical moment in anyone’s gardening history. They’ll be bowled over with awe as they prod the tiny hairs on the roof of its mouth, and they will squeal with delight as it closes.
Vegetables – All children love growing vegetables, and this is a marvellous way not only of how to introduce them to gardening but to drum in the healthy eating habits too. Even the most fussiest of eaters will try a tomato they’ve grown themselves, so if you have trouble getting your tiny tots to eat their greens, let them grow them and see what a difference it makes!
This post was written by Martina Mercer on behalf of LavenderWorld. She can often be found down in the garden with their plug plants and trowels. It’s is just one of a number of basic gardening articles on gardening with kids that you may find helpful, including how to grow mustard and cress. Your little ones will love my book, Growing Vegetables is Fun!, which is available on Kindle.