Most kids love to watch plants grow, whether it is a large country plot or a single tomato plant in a container on an apartment balcony. The process unfolds for them like magic from the moment the seed is covered in dirt to the moment they pop those first oh-so-ripe cherry tomatoes, still warm from the sun, in their mouths.
Even if you have had the death-touch in the past, there are some vegetables that are easy to grow and care for â€“ and provide both quality time and quality food for your family.
These are my picks for the easiest vegetables to grow. All can be grown in a conventional garden plot, raised beds, or containers.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants to grow, and with good reason. You can grow the plants from seeds or make it really easy and purchase a seedling at the garden store.
Choose a sturdy, healthy looking plant. A bush variety will work best if you are planning on growing it in a container. In this case youâ€™ll want to stay away from the heirloom varieties because they can be difficult to get going â€“ especially for the inexperienced gardener.
Green beans can be grown in raised beds, traditional plots, or containers. Choose bush bean varieties like Contender or Top Crop. Plant the seeds in large containers two inches apart and one inch deep in a rich soil. Youâ€™ll need to use an organic fertilizer and water often since the plants will be so close together.
You have heard the jokes about people leaving bags of zucchini on other peopleâ€™s porches just to get rid of it â€“ well you may find yourself in the same position!
Zucchini is one of the easiest and most prolific plants to grow in the home garden. It sprouts quickly from seed and will produce a harvest within about four to six weeks, depending on the variety.
Herbs like basil, cilantro, and chives are easy to grow and add a fresh flavor to your summer dishes. Keep a container of basil outside your kitchen door because flies hate the smell of it and will head over to the neighborâ€™s house instead.
Spinach is the bane of childhood â€“ usually. Good news! When kids help grow their own food they are more likely to eat it.
Fresh spinach can be used raw in salads or lightly steamed. Boiling will create that mass of slime that your mother made you eat when you were six â€“ please do not boil the spinach.
Not only is it easy to grow but it is fast. You will be harvesting those fresh, healthy leaves (donâ€™t pull up the whole plant, just gently tear off the bigger leaves) in about a month.
Spinach is a cool weather crop, however. You wonâ€™t be able to grow it successfully in Texas after April, for example. Check the seed package for suggested planting dates for your area.
There are other vegetables that are easy to grow. Radishes are often listed as a great plant for kids to grow because they are ready for harvest so quickly. I donâ€™t suggest them simply because most kids donâ€™t like them â€“ and if you are doing this together it is better to plant things they like.
What are your tips for gardening with your kids?
photo credit: Â Just Jennifer