Most children love to get their hands dirty. Why not take that natural inclination this spring and turn it toward gardening? You don’t need a lot of space, or even a garden. You can effectively grow many vegetables in containers.
Reserve a container or a portion of garden for each child. You can take the opportunity to point out how plants need sunlight and water, but don’t belabor the point home. Children have a natural curiosity and learn best when they’re having fun.
One fun project, and a way to get your children to eat more vegetables, is to grow a salad in your garden. In Fresno, it’s too late in the year to start lettuce, but you can plant cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and almost anything else you like in a salad.
Prepare the soil by removing any weeds, digging it up, adding compost and raking it smooth, or simply fill up the container. Let your child help pick out the seeds or seedlings. For seeds, radishes sprout and mature quickly. Carrots and green onions are also good choices. A new cultivar of carrot from Burpee, Organic Carrot--Kaleidoscope Mix, has purple, yellow red and orange carrots.
For a long term project, plant pumpkins for a Halloween harvest, your children will love to grow their own jack o’ lanterns. Lawn and Garden has a pumpkin, Lumina, that is white when it matures.
Children love to plant the vegetables, they’ll enjoy watering them this summer, and maybe, just maybe, when the vegetables mature, they’ll love eating them too.