Planting a Garden With Your Child

Dr. Mason

Dr. Mason

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?

Dr. Julia Mason Pediatric Hospitalist Meriter Hospital meriterkids.com

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