Gardening is such a great experience to do with children! Not only is it a fantastic way to get children outside; it also promotes hands-on learning, physical activity and you end up with the bonus of delicious food grown straight from your own yard!
Here are some of our favourite things to grow with little ones!
Tomatoes; Tomatoes love a sunny spot! Grow in either a pot or garden bed and pop those seedlings in nice and deep. Plant seedlings August – November. Tomatoes LOVE compost and chook poo as fertiliser, so if you know a local gardener with these available grab some. Tomatoes really benefit from staking so they don’t fall over when heavy with fruit. A good straw mulch from a landscaper and a regular water and you should have some happy toms.
How can the kids help?
Show the children how to plant seedlings gently in the ground and get them to assist with mulching (provided it’s not commercial mulch) Staking and watering are also great jobs for the kids. It’s also important to pinch off the side shoots on your plants as the shoots are competing for nutrients that should be going to the fruit – this job is perfect for little hands!
Beans; Beans are another plant that adores the sun! Find a spot in full sun for these healthy morsels. Sow September – January. Beans prefer to grow from seeds planted straight into the ground. Climbing beans will require a trellis of some sort to climb over, we used a section of an old pool fence for ours! Be careful not to over water your beans, plant them in damp – not wet – soil and leave them for a couple of days before watering again. If you decide to mulch, make sure that it doesn’t touch the plant itself. Beans don’t like being touched by mulch!
How can the kids help? Beans are dead easy to grow! Get the kids to help from planting the seeds, dampening the soil with a light water and of course, picking and eating!
Corn; Yum Bum! Corn is one of our favourite veg to grow and eat! Have you ever bitten into a homegrown cob of sweetcorn? It’s HEAVEN!! Plant September – October and sow straight from seed. Full sun is essential and a bit of protection from wind is helpful, so the stalks don’t fall over! Plant corn all together as this helps with pollination, allow approx 40cm between plants. You can grow beans and corn together – they’re great pals!! Corn loves nutrient dense soil, so compost and organic matter is important. I water our corn about 3 times a week, they don’t really like being over watered. Sweetcorn is ready when the tops are brown and shriveled. Peel back a bit off the top of a husk and if your corn ooze a milky sap when you poke with a fingernail they’re good to go!
How can the kids help? Planting seeds, watering and then checking to see if the sweetcorn is ready. I get my kids to measure how much the stalks grow each week as a maths activity. Husking the corn cobs when picked is also fun!
Don’t forget to get the kids involved in cooking, and of course eating your delicious home-grown produce!