So cultivated: how to start an outdoor kitchen garden with your kids!
Ever wished you had your own kitchen garden? Get inspired to get outside and gardening with your little ones, no matter how small your space!
Photo credit: Flickr user Woodleywonderworks (original image: http://bit.ly/25nmMna)
Ever wanted to start a kitchen garden? ‘Tis the season to get those greens growing, and this month we’re sharing easy tips for starting an edible garden with your kids, no matter where you live!
There are lots of great reasons to get your children growing a kitchen garden at any age: it engages them with where their food comes from, and encourages them to take care of baby plants (and get a little dirty!). But perhaps one of most magical things about a kitchen garden is the way it can convince kids to try new veggies and greens. In the same way that helping to cook a meal makes children more interested in eating it, growing their own vegetables can help children work up the curiosity to try them for dinner.
Plan your project:
You know your kids best, but here are some basic rules of thumb when you’re starting a garden with little ones: if you’re growing from seed, consider starting with fast-growing crops like greens, radishes, peas and beans. You can also give your garden a jump-start by picking up a few seedlings from your local nursery—kid-friendly plants like cherry tomatoes or strawberries do well with this approach. Finally, don’t forget edible flowers: nasturtiums taste amazing in salads, and their leaves make a great pesto. As a bonus, they act as a “buddy” to aphid-prone crops like strawberries because they attract bugs away from your special berries without chemicals.
Pick your space:
No garden space? No problem. Check out our tips on indoor gardening to get a handle on what’s most important to your greens—and then take a second look at your space. Balconies, steps and porches are all fine places for small container gardens. Use a container that’s got good drainage, and make sure it’s someplace with adequate sun. Mesclun salad mix and herbs like chives and rosemary do well in small pots, and harvest time is easy - just give your greens a “haircut” with scissors and you’ll find they keep coming back. If you have a slightly larger space, like a community garden patch, try square-foot gardening to maximise your space—this is a helpful resource for finding out more about this technique of dividing your growing space up into square feet instead of rows. And for larger spaces, we love this advice from Canadian blog Simple Bites on garden planning.
While your kids impatiently wait for your new garden to get growing, keep them hopping with these microgreen gardens—they’re so tiny, you can start them in an eggshell—but they’re packed with flavour. And once your kids are ready to start cooking with their produce, check out our recipe section for ideas! Try using your crops to garnish salad people, homemade pizza or to make kale chips.
What are you growing this year? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook Page.