Growing vegetables with children
Growing vegetables in the garden with children is an enjoyable experience that introduces children to where food comes from and here we show ones that are easy to sow and grow. To make a successful veggie garden, you should start by choosing appropriate plants. Choose easy-to-grow vegetables such as beets, carrots, radishes and tomatoes, but also include foods that kids love to snack on, such as cherry tomatoes, strawberries, beans and peas.
- Choose vegetable types that are easy to sow with large seeds
- You need ones that germinate quickly for those with short attention spans
- Sow in their final growing position so transplanting is not required
- Choose crops that produce quickly
- Ones that require minimum watering and feeding
- Continuous cropping types are best
Location of Fruit / Vegetable Growing plot
Choose a location that enjoys a sunny location much of the day. Plot needs to be away from hedges and trees. A sheltered location away from cold winds would be ideal. Next to a garden fence or wall would work well.
Here we provide 4 fruiting crops that are favourites with children as these need more than 6 hours of sunlight a day.
- Chillies / Peppers
- Courgette / Squash
These vegetable crops are also great to grow with children
- Runner and French Beans
- Carrots – Ideal for Sowing NOW (August 2020)
- Beetroot – Ideal for Sowing NOW (August 2020)
Vegetable Bed or Raised Bed
This depends very much on how much space you can afford to use in your garden. Ideally it needs to be no more than 4 ft in width (1.2metres). If you have young children then you will want them to be able to access it from all 4 sides. A raised vegetable bed is simple to make. Here we look at 2 options.
Option 1 – Pallet Collar (Raised Bed)
These can be obtained from online selling sites like Ebay. These come in varying sizes. But a good basic size would be 1 metres x 1.2 metres (3ft x 4ft). The beauty with these is they can be stacked. Two or 3 collars high would be ideal if your growing carrots and deep root vegetables. Once filled with compost, soil and organic matter you can then sow straight away.
Option 2 – Ground Bed
Planting directly in an area of ground that has been prepared. Ground preparation to include the digging over the area, removal of weeds and addition of organic matter like mushroom compost or home made compost from elsewhere in the garden. Adding a polythene sheet over the soil once prepared will help the soil warm up prior to sowing to encourage faster germination.
Courgettes are easy to grow from seed. Sow the seeds 2.5cm deep in April and plant outside, 1m apart, from late May. Grow in rich, fertile soil (ideally with added manure). You can grow one plant per 30cm pot but you will need to water and feed it more regularly.
Plant Out: early spring onwards.
Harvest: within 10 weeks of sowing
Latest sowing date: June
Carrots are best grown in the ground, once it has been prepared but can also be grown in containers if you are short of space or the ground you have is not suitable (heavy).
- Plant Out: April to July. (Can sow indoors from Mid-February)
- Harvest: within 12 weeks from June.
- Where to plant: Pot or the ground.
- What to sow: seeds.
- Latest planting time: August for harvesting Sept / Oct
Bush tomatoes are really easy to grow (avoid cordon varieties), which you need to stake and prune to get a good crop). ‘Tumbling Tom’ and ‘Gardeners Delight are popular varieties
- Plant Out: Late May after the last frost.
- Harvest within: 12 weeks.
- Where to plant: Grow bag, pot or the ground in a sunny location