Why not teach your little one about nature by creating a small vegetable plot together. It’s a great way of teaching children about the wonders of gardening – planting seeds, caring for them and watching them grow and then harvesting and eating the vegetables. This can be a really exciting prospect for little children as they discover where some of their food comes from.
If you’re not green fingered, no need to worry, there are some vegetables that are so easy that almost anybody can grow them. If you don’t have a garden (or have too little space in yours), you can still grow some basic herbs and vegetables in pots and buckets.
First of all you’ll need to choose a suitable spot and make sure that the soil is easy to work by forking it over and breaking it up. If you’re planting in pots, then prepare your pots with some gravel in the bottoms for drainage, then top up with some compost.
Then it’s time to plant some seeds. Try some herbs and vegetables that are easy to grow such as radishes, tomatoes, runner beans and courgettes. It should be quite easy to find packs of seeds in your local supermarket, on the High Street or in a garden centre. Many seed companies nowadays produce special variety packs for kids.
Help your little one to plant the seeds correctly according to the instructions on the packets and then make sure that you water them in. It’s then just a matter of regular watering while you watch the seeds grow. It’s worth buying your child a small watering can that won’t be too heavy to manage. This way your little one can be responsible for watering the plants on a daily basis. You can actually get little bottle topper devices that will turn an old pop or water bottle into a watering can – the screw on rose attachment means that the pots or plots can be gently watered without disturbing new seedlings.
As the seeds begin to germinate, you can enjoy the wonder on your child’s face as they begin to break through the soil and turn into tiny plantlets. You’ll probably lose some of the seedlings due to clumsy handling by little fingers, so make sure you’ve planted plenty and some will be sure to flower and crop.
At the end of the growing period, your child will be able to harvest the vegetables and proudly present them as part of the family meal.