Benefits of Growing your Own Food With Kids and Gardening Tips

There are plenty of benefits of growing your own food when you have kids. You should try to get your kids involved in the growing process as much as possible. This helps teach them many important things at once, such as the need to work in order to get results, and the types of nutrients contained in different vegetables.

Educating Your Kids About Food 

Obesity is considered an epidemic in many countries around the world now, and this is largely due to poor education about food. Many children needlessly suffer from diabetes and other weight-related problems as a result of not being provided with education and guidance when it comes to food.

In Western countries in particular, we’re constantly bombarded by advertising for foods that aren't healthy – and much of this advertising is targeted directly at children. Getting your kids involved in a home food growing project will help them learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods and develop a better understanding of their body’s nutritional requirements. This is possibly the biggest benefit of growing your own food with your kids – you can teach them about eating healthy.

Putting Food on the Table Requires Work

Most kids grow up expecting there to be dinner on the table every night, without ever developing a full appreciation for the fact that their parents work hard to put it there. Getting them involved in the process of growing food will help give them a greater appreciation for the fact that the food they enjoy every day doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It either has to be bought, or grown and tended to personally. Either way, kids will develop a greater appreciation for what they eat.

How to Get Kids Interested

The idea of growing food at home with your kids might hold great appeal for you – but not so much appeal for your kids. In this case, you might have to sweeten the deal a bit in order to get them interested – this is particularly true with older kids. One way to do this is to offer them some sort of extra reward in exchange for help in the garden. Try to keep this separate from any chores they do for pocket money, though – you want it to eventually become a fun and positive thing.

Benefits of Organic Food

There’s another benefit to you and your kids when it comes to growing food at home. You know exactly what kind of fertilizer you’re using in your own garden. You can make and use your own organic fertilizer, and you don’t have to worry about your kids ingesting chemicals sprayed on their food by huge commercial food producers.

Saving Money

Of course, don’t forget the other big benefit of growing your own food. With world food prices skyrocketing, a little vegetable patch can plant the seed for a healthier bank account!

Summer Gardening Ideas

As it is the beginning of the summer soon, now is a great time to be thinking about planting a garden.

Try these ideas for planning and growing your own food.
Growing an Italian Pizza Garden
Growing an Herb Garden
Grow your food scraps

14 Different Plants for Kids to Garden with

If you are planting a large garden, what kinds of fruits and vegetables should you plant in it?

1. Cherry Tomatoes - a fun plant to grow and eat! They are small enough for kids to pop them in their mouths and taste the sweetness of summer.

2. Zucchini - super easy to grow and they can be made into some pretty tasty bread that the kids can help you make.

3. Lettuce - start this when the weather is cooler. So, early spring or late fall makes for perfect lettuce planting time.

4. Carrots - plant these from seed and when they just start to peek up out of the dirt they are ready to be picked.

5. Radishes - a tangy vegetable to throw in your salads and super easy for kids to grow.

6. Marigolds - a beautiful, golden flower, perfect for your summer bouquets. Plant them as a seed for some extra fun.

7. Zinnias - magnificently colorful, tall and stately. These are a children's favorite because they perform so well with minimal effort. Also, they make some amazing bouquets to give to family and friends.

8. Cosmos - Very wispy flowers that kids will enjoy planting. They also make some amazing bouquets but don't last quite as long as the zinnia.

9. Cucumbers - crunchy, long, and another easy to grow plant for kid's gardening adventures.

10. Pumpkins - plant some pumpkin seeds so that you can have beautiful pumpkins come the fall.

11. Broccoli - a little bit challenging to grow if the bugs get to it. However, it is so much tastier than the broccoli at your local grocery store.

12. Green Beans - they can be plentiful so be prepared. But they are super easy to grow and the kids will have fun eating them straight from the vine.

13. Sunflowers - plant sunflowers in a wide space to create a house so that when they grow the kids can play in them.

14. Pansies - buy them at your local nursery and have your children plant them and nurture them along throughout the summer.

Check out our Kids Cooking Camp Growing and Cooking as it is the perfect time to get started with this ebook.

This unit gives you tips on growing different vegetables, recipes to try for each vegetable and food facts about vegetables. We've included 10 vegetables and herbs with information on planting and why you should plant a vegetable garden with your kids. Each vegetable or herb includes at least 4 recipes to cook.

Unlike other summer camp curriculum this one is designed to plant your seeds and watch them grow, then harvest them and try the recipes.

5 Tips on Growing Vegetables

Your first step should be planning what type of garden you would like. Then decide how much space you have available. Then draw or map out your plan. Remember to get your kids involved in every step and make this just as much their project or a family project.

These tips on growing vegetables are designed to help you avoid the major pitfalls of vegetable growing. Many first-time vegetable growers think the whole process is quite simple – just throw some seeds on the ground, water them regularly and in a few weeks, voila – you have a vegetable garden, ready to harvest. Those of us who have actually grown vegetables know it’s not that simple. There are a few fundamentals you need to understand first and foremost to ensure you get good results.

1. Know What You’re Growing

Not all vegetables are created equal – this is the first thing you’ll need to understand. Different vegetables have different properties, and you’ll have to do a bit of basic research on any particular vegetable you decide to grow. One of the most basic but important tips on growing vegetables is to understand the nature of what you’re growing.

2. Learn About Seasons

Certain vegetables only grow well at particular times of year, so it’s important to know when you need to plant each vegetable in your garden and roughly how long it will take for those plants to mature. It’s an amateur mistake to go ahead and plant all your seeds for different vegetables at one time. Learn when each seed should be planted and when the finished product can be picked – this will also help you maximize your use of space in your garden throughout the year.

3. Learn About Spacing

Different plants have different root structures, so it’s important to know how much room you’re going to need between each seed you plant. Of course, this differs based on the vegetable you’re planting. You’ll have to think carefully about how you divide up the space in your garden to cater to all the vegetables you want to plant – don’t try to cram too much in, as you’re likely to end up yielding less than you’re hoping for if you plant seeds too close together.

4. Learn About Soil and Nutrients

Understanding the nutrients vegetables need to grow is key to successfully producing edible vegetables on a regular basis. Just as vegetables act as nourishment for humans and we need the right balance of nutrients, vegetables also need the right balance of nutrients in the soil to grow to their maximum potential. The big three macronutrients you need to know about are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, collectively referred to as NPK. Knowing this will help you make sense of the numbers and letters you see on bags of fertilizer.

On top of the nutrients involved, you also need to understand the type of soil you’re working with and what it needs in terms of care, watering and extra fertilization.

5. Learn About Your Climate

Your climate affects the kind of vegetables you can grow in a couple of ways. For one thing, your geography determines the seasons – how long the days are at each time of year, how much sunlight and rain you’ll get, and so on. On top of that, certain vegetables just won’t grow in some climates. Each different climate has vegetables which will thrive there, so if you want the best results make sure you grow plants which are well-suited to the climate of your area.