DENVER (CBS4) – Spring is here! As a matter of fact, this warm weather makes it feel like we skipped spring altogether and are on to summer. But not to worry, the vegetation still believes in spring, and gardens are awaiting their debut.
This year, why not give your children a plot to experiment in?
Introducing children to gardening is a great way to get them outside and educate them about where food comes from. They might even be more inclined to eat their vegetables if they’re the ones growing them.
Consider kid-friendly plants — colorful, tasty, and hardy enough to take the abuse of intermittent watering. Treehugger.com gathered the top plants that are perfect for a kid’s garden. Here are 10 that should help paint your child’s thumb green:
Herbs – Mint, basil, chives, rosemary. These are great starter plants that can live in small potters, perfect for small children to care for. They’re also a prime way to suggest new flavors, as it’s a novelty to eat leaves right from a plant.
Radishes – Admittedly not kids’ favorite vegetable, radishes grow quickly and come in a variety of colors. The immediate gratification of a short growing season allows kids to sample their produce, and the strong flavor will expand their palate.
Snap Peas – These crunchy greens are fun and easy to grow. Kids love to pick them right off the vine to eat (be sure to have another for yourself!).
Cherry Tomatoes – Watching these plump crops turn from green to red as they ripen is one of gardening’s greatest satisfactions. No doubt children excitedly await the change, and the plentiful cherry tomatoes can even be grown in containers.
Sunflowers – These beautiful flowers grow large and follow the sun, a fun plant for kids to observe. Another flower option is to plant a pack of wildflower seeds, and then enjoy the surprises that grow.
Strawberries – A crowd pleaser that’s luckily easy to grow. Other creatures love them too, though, so a nice option is hanging strawberry baskets, just be sure the kids can still reach it!
Lettuce – A low maintenance plant with immediate gratification. Lettuces grow quickly and are a great way to get greens in your children’s diet. Let them pick the colors and varieties, and they’ll be more likely to eat a salad.
Carrots – Growing something as familiar as a carrot can make it that much more exciting. They’re slower to grow but are easy to maintain — and fun to pull out of the ground!
Pumpkins – These are fun to watch as the seeds sprout within just 7 days. A few more days and the vines begin to creep. Pumpkins take months to mature, but the gradual changes are exciting to see, and if you plant in mid-summer you’ll have one to carve for Halloween.
Potatoes – The best part about growing potatoes is digging them up at harvest time — all kids can appreciate a good scavenger hunt! It is suggested that older children tend to the growing because of potatoes’ toxic properties.
Growing details and germination specifics can be found here.
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