Forest Garden
How to Start Growing Veg with Kids

16th July 2023

Thinking of growing vegetables with your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces?

Being outdoors does us all good, but it’s also a great opportunity to teach kids about planting seeds, caring for new plants and growing food.

But how do you begin to introduce children to growing veg and other plants? Here are a few fun ideas:

  1. Egg-citing cress: Let’s start with this old favourite. When you’ve cooked and eaten boiled eggs, save the shells, having removed just a small section from the top. Have fun drawing silly faces with the children on the egg shells, using felt tips, then fill the shells with compost and add your cress seeds. You can use the egg box as a ‘stand’ for these mini shell planters! You’ll need to keep the seeds warm and moist; this is something that even young kids can check on each day for you. Cress seeds germinate quickly and will be ready to eat in your sandwiches within a few days, while the funny-faced egg shells will look hilarious with sprouting green hair!

2. A trough of herbs: Another activity is to plant some herbs in flower pots and containers. Although this is gardening on a small scale, it’s manageable for children and they will enjoy taking responsibility for the plants and then snipping the chives, parsley, basil and mint when they’re ready to eat. It’s also an interesting way to discover new flavours and to identify different kinds of plants with different shaped leaves. Forest Garden’s Kitchen Garden Trough, a rustic-style planter, would be perfect for this activity.

3. Getting stuck in: For older or more adventurous gardeners, May is a good time to plant cucumbers, courgettes, beetroot and salad leaves. Growing their own vegetables can encourage children to try new foods. So, getting stuck into gardening can be great for fussy eaters! There’s nothing better than harvesting the food they’ve planted, preparing it and proudly bringing it to the table. This article from Gardeners’ World Magazine provides plenty of tips for growing veg at this time of year:

4. Learning and growing: If you’d like to carry out an educational and thought-provoking activity with children, you could study the effect of sunlight on sprouting seeds by growing seeds both in a sunny position and in the dark. The seeds grown in the dark (e.g., in a cupboard) will shoot up quickly, trying to find sunlight, but these plants will be pale and weak. The seeds that grow on a sunny window ledge or in a greenhouse, for example, will grow more slowly but will be stronger and healthier. The children could even draw some pictures of their results. Our Mini Greenhouse is the perfect size for children to embark on their first gardening adventures!

5. Reach for the stars: Another fun activity is to have a growing competition! Ask the kids to plant a sunflower seed in a pot to see how tall their sunflowers will grow. Keep the sprouting seeds in a warm, sunny location and water them regularly, then measure how high they’ve grown on a regular basis. See whose sunflower grows the tallest! This would work with other plants too – e.g., seeing whose strawberry plant grows the most strawberries, or whose tomato plant grows the highest.

6. The miracle of seeds: When children are eating tomatoes or peppers, for example, point out the small seeds to them. The kids may not have realised that the potential for new life is contained inside those tiny seeds! It’s quite miraculous when you think about it. You may want to save the seeds, pot them up, and then grow them in your garden or in our handy Grow Bag Tray Container – to realise that amazing potential.

7. Spuds: Something that children love to grow is potatoes because they’re versatile and can be cooked in so many ways. For fussy eaters, potatoes can be a great place to start when growing veg. If you don’t fancy giving up a section of your garden for your children’s growing experiments, why not purchase our wooden Potato Planter, which makes growing and harvesting spuds both tidy and simple?

8. Short on space: If you don’t have much space for gardening with your children, you may want to consider some of Forest Garden’s space-saving and adaptable options – for example, our attractive Linear Corner Planter which can be placed in the corner of a yard or patio without taking up too much room. Starting off small is often the best way to progress – it won’t feel too daunting for children and it will be a patch of garden they can take responsibility for themselves.

Get outside this season and have fun with your kids. Let your garden be an inspiration to them!