Spring has sprung, and summer is on its way. This is a great time to plant something with your child. Flowers are fun, but vegetables can help a child learn that food doesn’t just come from the refrigerator. Even veggie-avoiding kids will sometimes try things that they grew themselves.
Many of the most delicious crops require full sun, but they don’t require a garden plot. Some can be grown in a pot! Every summer I grow five big tomato plants out in my main vegetable garden, but I also grow a cherry tomato in a half barrel that’s on our deck. I plant flowers all around the tomato and use a more decorative support structure since it’s visible right out the window. Last year my main task was trying to teach my two-year old that the tomatoes taste best if you wait until they are orange. (I planted Sun Gold, a very tasty variety that I highly recommend!)
Pole beans are green beans that grow on tall vines and taste delicious. If you have a sunny piece of ground, you can put up one 6 to 8 foot pole and bring strings down from a nail at the top to tent pegs in the ground in a circle that is 4 to 6 feet in diameter. Have the strings about a foot apart on the ground, and leave one area with at least two feet in-between strings for an opening. Then plant 4 beans at the base of each string. As the summer progresses, the vines will create a playhouse of leaves—a shady place with first flowers and then beans. If you have multiple poles available you can make a teepee of poles, tied together at the top. Then you could plant 6-8 seeds for each pole since they are further apart, as in this picture. Alternatively if there’s a window of your house with a southern or western exposure, you could set up strings in front of the window. By the hottest part of the summer, the beans will provide a nice leafy sun block.
Have fun with planting and add your suggestions as comments on our Meriter Facebook page. What have you grown with your kids in the past?