How to Plant a Children's Garden
Does your veggie patch change from year to year? Ours sure does. Some years I'm motivated to cultivate and care for lots of different veggies and flowers and other years, I'm more drawn to the idea of a vegetable garden. Familiar? This summer I'm going to get the kids totallyinvolved. I've done a bit of homework and have a plan for how to plant a children's garden. By children's garden I mean few things. Here are the criteria I'm looking for in a children's garden:
- Veggies and flowers that can be consumed off the vine by the kids
- Easy to cultivate and care for
- Easy to physically navigate for watering, weeding and pruning
- Veggies that can be used in kid-friendly recipes
Since I'm working in a small space, just a 4' x 8' raised bed, I'm somewhat limited in what I can grow with success. Our veggie garden is in 100% sun for more than half of the day. A slat fence shades the west side of the veggie garden during the afternoons from about 3p on, but for the most part it's a good spot in the northwest corner of our back yard.
In the past, I've planted tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, kale, lettuce, pumpkin, zuccini. I tried beets and acorn squash and every herb known to cooks. Last year's strawberry plants are looking great right now with sweet little white blooms.
But this year, I'm going to focus on the kids and their palate so I can show them what it means to grow their own food.
Here's the line-up we've planted and I'm happy to say have been consistently watering and will update as we progress through the summer with comments and photos.
Easy Growing Plants for a Children's Garden
- 5 Strawberry plants
- 4 butter lettuce plants
- 4 basil plants
- 4 kale plants
- 1 squash
- 1 parsley
- 1 cilantro
- 1 rosemary
- 1 spearmint
- 2 packages poppy seeds distributed around the south and southeast corner as a little cutting flower border. The package said 10 days to 2 weeks to germinate and I'm delighted to see the first little green shoots coming up. I can't wait for the blooms.
Planned for short-term sowing
- Cherry tomato plant
- Green beans
Planned for later season sowing
- Pumpkin for Halloween (plan to plant in early July with a 70-120 day maturity to ripen for late October)
Here's a really nice primer for second season sowing for mid-summer planting that you can harvest in fall.
And Better Homes & Gardens offers this free garden planning tool for creating a great delicious, green and dirt-filled space for kids - their favorite!
Thanks for coming along and let us know what you decide to plant this season. Enjoy!