Why should we grow our own vegetables?
It is a fact! Children who grow their own vegetables and fruit are much more likely to enjoy eating it, in early and adult life. It is a great opportunity to encourage a sense of ownership and responsibility for creating and looking after the plot in the garden or some planters on a windowsill.
What do I need?
A sunny patch of soil in the garden or tubs and planters if growing inside.
Some easy to grow vegetable plants (see below)
Leftover lollipop sticks to label the plants
A trowel (if not, a kitchen spoon or a beach spade works just as well for digging holes)
What is easiest to grow?
You do not need to be an expert gardener yourself to get your children involved – planting instructions are always written on the back of seed packets and plants. Plus, there’s loads of useful videos and information to watch on websites such as www.gardenersworld.com and http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening.
It is always best to start with vegetables and fruit that grow easiest as well as ones that your child might have heard of. The following grow well indoors in containers, planted or sown directly in the ground and will grow in most types of soil:
Where can I buy seeds and plants from when nurseries and garden centres are closed
There’s plenty of online companies selling plants and seeds, here’s just a few:
It is also worth looking on Ebay for private sellers who grow vegetable plants and seeds ready for planting especially if you’re looking for smaller quantities.
I have not got a garden; can I still grow vegetables?
Yes! Most plants that grow outside can grow in planters and pots on sunny windowsills, patios or on a balcony. It is much easier to keep them watered and there is not as much wedding to do either! Any pots can be used for growing plants from tupperware to cans to old ice cream tubs.
Some top tips
Grow simple quick growing plants so children do not lose interest too quickly.
Hang up old CDs to scare birds away from crops.
Allow more space than you think between each plant.
Allocate tasks to get children excited about growing vegetables.
Locate the veg patch where it will be easily accessible for your children.
Remember to wash hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water after being in the garden and after handling seeds or raw vegetables.
Finally, you really do not need to be an expert to encourage children to grow their own fruit and veg. Enjoy, we would love to see what you grow!