Being outdoors with kids is a great way to keep them active and healthy. Starting a veggie garden with kids is a great way to teach them new skills, gives them confidence when growth takes place and teaches them about where food comes from. It’s also a great activity you can do together.
When bringing kids into the mix, it can be difficult not to take over to try and make sure things are planted correctly, spaced well, etc. From experience, when kids became more interested and wanted to do everything, I would get frustrated and would want to perfect the garden on my own. Here are some tips to help you in starting a veggie garden.
The Childrens Veggie Garden
When starting a veggie garden with kids, here is a way to include your children and keep them busy while the essential, non-planting jobs are done.
If you have a space or even a container, a large pot, designating a section of the garden that is their own can really engage kids. I have had success in this approach by using bricks/rocks/edging to make an approx 1x1m space for them to make their own.
In their space, the kids choose the seeds they want to plant (yes, magic rocks are also seeds) and water (flooding, followed up with puddle jumping is ok) and playing in the garden and have a great time. Plus dig for worms and hunt for bugs!
They are outdoors spending time with you, and keeping them occupied elsewhere this will save your gardening efforts from being hampered!
If and when seeds start appearing in their patch, it is a joyous occasion! (Feel free to help these along by adding a grown seedling on the sly if you need to, we won’t tell!) even weeds growing can be a victory, something green we can celebrate!
This is a space to let them experiment and see the outcomes of their choices.
The Parents Garden
If you are a beginner gardener, herbs are probably the easiest things to establish such as parsley, coriander, lettuce. Other plants that can have quick wins are beans, peas and cherry tomatoes. Planting will also depend on where you are situated. This helpful tool allows you to choose the region you live in, then advises you what’s right to plant month by month
Preparation Is Key When Starting A Veggie Garden
The best time to plant is when the ground is warm in spring and autumn. Avoid the heights of summer and winter
Choose a sunny spot or somewhere that gets either good morning or afternoon sun. Ideally, a location that gets about 6 hours of sun
You can use containers or pots to plant veggies. If using a potting mix, be sure to always keep it wet when working with it and wear gloves.
Mulch Mulch Mulch! If you have an unused space of dirt that needs a bit of love, mulch with leaves/straw/grass clippings. This will help keep the moisture in the soil and the worms happy for when you are ready to plant and keep the weeds down too.
Adding compost or cow/horse manure to the soil helps with growth and soil health. Dig compost or manure into the soil about a month before you begin to plant as fresh compost/manure will fry your seeds and plants!
Planting & Growing
- If planting seeds, mix a bit of sand with the soil to help with tiny seed germination. Otherwise, you can buy seedlings from plant stores which have already started growing.
- When visiting the garden, encourage your little one to pick and eat or smell the leaves of herbs. We like to eat a mint leaf and pretend we have just brushed our teeth! Be sure to grow mint in a pot or it will take over your whole garden! Cherry tomatoes are an easy win and can be eaten on the go.
- Let your favourite herbs go to seed and collect the seed for planting next time (free seeds!) Things like coriander, parsley and lettuces are an easy one.
- When you are cooking, ask kids to go and collect a particular herb. This gives them good recognition of the herbs you have seen grow together, plus a satisfaction and appreciation with it is on their dinner plate.
- And finally, be sure to keep the water up to new seedlings. Watering frequently in the warmer weather can help prevent a plant from bolting (producing seed too quickly). A bit of fertiliser such as Organic Lifter, Seasol or worm tea (diluted worm juice from a worm farm) will help plants stay established and happy.
Starting a veggie garden takes time to master and there will be victories and setbacks. Learn from these and talk with others who have had success or troubleshooting online.
Written by Emma. Emma is a mother of two children and has learnt most of her gardening skills from her own mum. When she is not gardening, she runs her business Cloth Baby – modern cloth nappies which help parents understand and use cloth nappies, especially with the use of her free video calls to better demonstrate modern cloth nappies.
Motherhood Unplugged is a hub for mums seeking Connection, Conversation & Community.
At Motherhood Unplugged we understand just how difficult this motherhood gig can be and that’s why we have created a safe supportive space for all mums.