Planting vegetables for kids to grow is fun and rewarding, it teaches them where food comes from – and that’s not just the supermarket! There is a certain mystique around growing vegetables and it’s easy to think that it must be quite hard! It’s actually really simple and fun to plant seeds that become vegetables for kids to grow!
You don’t need a lot of space for planting your vegetables, some vegetables can be grown in pots on a patio – and you can start some on a windowsill! Even on a balcony there are vegetables for kids to grow – how about a pot full of potatoes or runner beans? It’s possible, colourful and rewarding!
At PKS we love anything eco friendly – our personalised bottle bands and personalised kids’ cutlery are all made with environmentally friendly materials. Buying and planting vegetable seeds is a great way of showing your kids that they can grow their own food – and of course the therapeutic benefits are enormous. Being out in the fresh air and working with plants, digging the soil – it’s all hugely beneficial for kids’ mental health and a great way to relieve stress.
Planting vegetables for kids to grow is great for kids’ mental health!
With the lockdowns and all the uncertainty of the past year it’s been stressful for kids of all ages – growing vegetables for kids is a great way to combat the mental hardship and isolation they’ve had to go through. Biophilia – the innate desire to be close to nature and living things – is something that’s increasingly getting recognition as people realise just how important it is to be connected with plants and natural materials. It’s never been more important to appreciate the benefits for mental and physical health that growing things can bring!
Being connected to the natural world is really important for kids – and for adults!
It’s so important that our kids feel connected with the natural world and living things – it’s easy nowadays for kids to become disconnected from nature. Many of us live in urban environments – and many children don’t have the opportunity to connect with the natural world much.
To grow vegetables with kids – and get the benefits of working with plants – you don’t need a big garden or outside space. There are vegetables for kids to grow even in the smallest space – even if you just have a pot on the doorstep or a windowsill! It’s always possible to connect with nature and to help kids feel the benefits of growing plants.
You don’t need lots of equipment for your vegetable planting! You’ll need either pots and compost or a bit of garden and a fork – the kids can help with preparation!
If you’re planting outside, the ground will need to be dug over and all weeds removed – so the kids can get to work on this! If you’ve got a compost heap then the weeds can go in that – that’s another easy thing to build at the bottom of your garden! Great for DIY compost and fantastic for worms and insects too! And the birds love it!
If you’re planting in pots then make sure they are deep enough to give room for roots or tubers – depending on what you decide to plant in them. If it’s just something like lettuce then a shallow pot is fine, but for potatoes you need a deep pot so that they can grow under the soil!
You’ll need to decide which vegetables you’re going to plant – there are loads that are great vegetables for kids to grow. You’ll need some pots or seed trays to start off with as it’s early in the year, depending on the crop. Alternatively you can easily buy the plants already started, but it’s fun for kids to see the seeds grow into plants!
Most seeds might still need to be planted under cover at this time of year because it’s still too cold for them! You can improvise here by using hummus pots or yogurt pots that are going into your recycling sac. Punch a hole in the bottom of each pot and with the lid on it makes the perfect mini glasshouse! Just right for incubating your seeds! If you are going to plant outside once the seeds are growing, you can also buy coir pots that can be planted directly into the soil and will just break down.
It’s best when thinking about which vegetables for kids to grow that you don’t go too mad and plant lots and lots of seeds! Seeds in the little bag can look tiny but they pack a punch and soon grow into lots of little plants! It’s best just to plant a few of each. With lettuce, for example, you can sow more later in the season once the first lot are planted out!
Here is our pick of the best vegetables for kids to grow:
Tomatoes are great vegetables for kids to grow – they grow quickly and should produce good results!
Choose your seeds depending on whether the kids like little tomatoes or bigger ones – maybe they don’t like tomatoes at all but growing them might change that! Gardner’s delight is a great cherry tomato!
Some tomato varieties look amazing in hanging baskets and can be very decorative as well as delicious!
You’ll need to sow the seeds in March or early April – so now – to give them time to mature. If you start them later, you’ll find that your tomatoes won’t have time to ripen before the autumn and you’ll be left with green tomatoes!
Get the kids to fill a few yogurt pots with compost and then they can pop a seed into each one. Water the pots and place on a windowsill or in a shed where they will be sheltered from the weather. If you put the lids on the pots, leave a little gap or hole for the air to get in. Put in a sunny spot and water each day!
Once the plants start to grow they’ll grow quickly! You can move them outside and into bigger pots once the temperature warms up, or if you prefer you can leave them in the shed or greenhouse, or on a windowsill.
If you’re going to move them outside in late May then they’ll need a sunny, sheltered spot.
If you water them each day, tomatoes are great vegetables for kids to grow. The kids can have great fun pinching out the extra shoots that grow from the stems – and the tops of the plants if they get really big. This will ensure that the strength goes into growing the tomatoes rather than huge plants!
In the summer you should have some lovely red, juicy tomatoes to harvest!
An old classic, runner beans are another one of those easy vegetables for kids to grow. The grow fast and produce lots of beans which are fun for kids to pick!
You’ll need to start the beans off from seed in early April under cover. As with tomatoes, you can start them off in yogurt pots on a windowsill or shed with a window. Bean seeds are big and easy for little hands to plant – just fill the pots with compost, pop in the bean seeds and keep watered.
Once the plants are growing bigger and the weather is warmer, your kids can plant the beans out in the garden – or they will also grow well in pots on a balcony. They’ll need bamboo cane supports to run up.
You can also grow runner beans inside if you don’t have an outside space – they’ll need somewhere with room to grow upwards though as they shoot up!
Runner beans need regular watering – then they will race up the poles and produce flowers, then beans to pick!
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables for kids to grow!
You can either start the seeds off in seed trays or little pots – or you can plant straight into the soil. Many lettuce varieties are tolerant of cold weather so you don’t need to wait for warm weather.
Lettuce seeds are tiny but there are usually lots in the packet, so it’s best not to sow the whole lot at once! Keep some back and sow a few weeks later, then you will have lettuce coming up all summer!
Make sure the kids don’t sow the lettuce seeds too close together or they’ll be difficult to thin out. They will need to be thinned out once they have started to grow to give them all a bit more room to spread out!
Give the kids the job of watering each day and in the summer you’ll have great lettuces and you won’t have to buy them!
Potatoes are one of the greatest vegetables for kids to grow because most kids like them in one form or another! Depending on the sort of potato you grow you can make them into chips, fried potatoes, baked potatoes, mash or just boiled!
To grow potatoes you’ll need some seed potatoes – you can get these in a garden centre. One or two seed potatoes will produce plenty of potatoes! Different varieties need planting at different times and also will be ready at different times – it’s best to look when you buy the seed potatoes.
There are a lot of varieties to choose from but you may only be lucky enough to get your hands on certain sorts – people rush to get them when they come in!
Potatoes are great vegetables for kids to grow – you don’t need a big space because they can even be grown in a pot! They just need nice deep soil – the trick is that when they get to around 20cm high you should push the soil up against the stem to keep the growing potatoes covered up and out of the light! Regular watering is needed too, although you don’t want the soil to get too wet.
Once the flowers die away then your kids can harvest the potatoes!
Carrots are great vegetables for kids to grow! They are usually popular with kids at dinner too!
You’ll need a sunny spot for carrots – either in the garden or in a pot. Carrots can be sown directly into the soil from April so you don’t need to worry about starting them under cover. They don’t need a lot of watering either so are really good if you want a low maintenance crop!
Get the kids to fork the ground over and weed it – or if you’re using a pot, get them to fill it with compost! They can sow the seeds – as thinly as possible – about a couple of cm deep and cover them with soil. They may need thinning out as they grow – depends really on how thinly they are sown at first!
You can buy all sorts of carrot seeds – shorter varieties are good for clay soil and for planting in pots. It’s a good idea to gat the kids to keep pushing soil up against the carrot stems after they start to grow to keep the carrots fully covered!
By May or June your kids can peep under the soil and check the carrots – they should be ready! They’ll be amazed that they can pull up the carrots, wash them and eat them for dinner!
Courgettes are versatile and can be added to pasta sauces to sneak in a bit more veg!
They are rewarding vegetables for kids to grow and don’t need any complicated kit to get them started!
You can plant the seeds, two to a pot, in compost and put them on a windowsill or in a windowed shed . Ideally the seed should be planted vertically, then, when the plant begins to grow, one of the seedlings will be stronger. The weaker one can be discarded to ensure that you only grow strong plants!
The plants must be watered daily, and after a month can be planted outside – in May or early June. You can also grow these in pots on a balcony or patio. The flowers are really beautiful so these plants are decorative too!
The kids can start to pick the courgettes once they begin to appear – don’t let them get too big to keep them coming!
Of course there are many other vegetables for kids to grow – these are just a few! It really is important for kids to learn how vegetables grow and how easy it is! You never know, they might be inspired to try a few different vegetables at dinner time!
Picking vegetables that they’ve grown themselves is more likely to make your kids want to try! These won’t be some alien things that arrive with the supermarket delivery shop, they will be vegetables that have been grown right from seeds! It really does make a difference. You can try letting the kids prepare them too – with supervision of course!
We hope your kids have lots of fun planting their vegetables! At PKS we’re big fans of eco friendly projects for kids! Our personalised bottle bands are made from BPA free silicone and our personalised kids’ cutlery is made from silicone and stainless steel. Both of these materials are eco friendly and very durable. We strive to be as planet friendly as possible so kids have the best world to grow up in!
For our range of products for kids, take a look at our shop!
For more tips on growing vegetables for kids have a look at the RHS site!