I have been gardening for more than 30 years. It is such a joy to me to pass along my love of gardening to the next generation. What kid doesn’t love to play in the dirt? If your kiddos are veggie haters, often growing their own will make them reconsider. Almost all kids love carrots. They are easy to grow when you choose a short, quick growing variety. Make sure your soil is well tilled and compost rich. Sugar snap peas also grow quickly and are so sweet kids won’t even realize they’re even eating vegetables! Green beans are a quick crop and can be grown in a small area. Sauté them in a skillet with EVOO and garlic. Children will see not all veggies come frozen or in a can or and really have flavor!!!
Even tomato haters will find it hard to resist sweet grape tomatoes fresh off the vine. They are easy for little ones to pick and eat. Harvest plum tomatoes and turn them into spaghetti sauce. What kid doesn’t love spaghetti? Our kids need to know more about where their food comes from. Plan trips to the farmer’s market where kids can pick out some vegetables for dinner. This kills two birds with one stone. Eating foods grown closer to home is both healthful and green. Showing kids that an actual person nearby grows their food gives them more insight to their everyday eating!
Something about planting and caring for these plants gives children a sense of
accomplishment. Teach them about watering and weeding. Every kid I know loves to handle a hose. Check the plants every day! While weeding is not the most fun, perhaps the promise of a treat afterwards will help. When the first blossoms come out, they will be thrilled!
Veggies can be grown in planters for condo dwellers with a balcony. Check for varieties of vegetables that grow compactly. If you have no place for even a container garden, check out community gardens in your area. Go to chicagocommunitygardens.org to find gardens in the Chicago area. For other parts of the country, Google “community gardens”. Let’s start teaching the next generation the joy and simple pleasures of gardening!
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO