A kids’ garden is a wonderful, magical place.
That being said, it’s one thing to visit a kids’ garden and quite another to plant one of your own. The choices of seeds and plants at garden centers are completely overwhelming. I want my kids to learn first-hand how plants grow, but I am no gardening expert. I also have a small yard, so my space is limited. It’s important to choose seeds wisely! Over the years, I have experimented with my kids’ garden, and here are the plants that have done well for my family.
Both of my children love sunflowers. They are so bright and cheerful! They also pack a lot of punch. The change from a tiny seed into a giant, tall sunflower is quite dramatic! There are so many different varieties of sunflowers of every shape, size, and color. Each year, I let my kids pick out a pack of sunflower seeds. I plant them as seeds next to my house in a sunny spot and they have sprouted every year.
I planted a few strawberry plants in my kids’ garden last year and they were a huge hit! My kids love to eat strawberries, so they went outside to check the plants for ripe ones every single day. I love that strawberries are very self-sufficient and require very little work on my part. They are notorious for spreading rapidly, so you need to watch that they don’t take over your entire garden. I put my strawberries in their own raised bed, which keeps them contained and away from hungry rabbits.
Peas grow really well in Vermont. They are fairly tolerant to cooler temperatures so you can plant them as seeds directly into your kids’ garden. If you plant early enough, there is enough time to grow a second round of peas after the first plants are finished. My kids enjoy watching the pea pods grow longer and plumper each day. Pea pods are also easy for little fingers to pick. (And they aren’t delicate, so no worries about squishing them!) After picking the pods, my kids really enjoy shelling out the peas. I wish they were as enthusiastic about eating them!
Lettuce grows quickly, which is a great thing for impatient children! There are also many different varieties of lettuce, so let your kids pick their favorite! My kids enjoy eating salad, so lettuce is an important piece of our garden. Having a fresh salad at our fingertips is wonderful! I also like to let my children go outside and pick the amount of lettuce they want for their salads. If you want fancy salads, plant a variety of lettuce types!
Cherry tomatoes are great for small spaces because you can grow them in little containers or even in a hanging bag. They are not so tolerant of the cold, however, so I recommend buying tomato plants that are already started from a garden center. Kids really enjoy watching the cherry tomatoes grow because of their vibrant red color. As a bonus, many children enjoy eating these mini tomatoes.
Carrots are a great vegetable to show kids how things grow underground where we can’t see them. My kids really enjoyed the mystery of pulling on the leafy ends of the carrots and uncovering the carrot hidden underneath. Carrots are also my kids’ favorite vegetable, so they will gladly eat as many of them as I can grow. Carrots do not grow well in containers, however, since they need deep soil to grow nice, long carrots.
Marigolds are easy flowers to grow. I know this because I haven’t managed to kill any of them, unlike many other types of poor plants in my garden. Marigold flowers are bright and cheerful and they bloom all summer long, which adds a nice pop of color to any kids’ garden. They are also known for being great flowers to grow alongside vegetables because they repel pests. The flowers are also edible! They make a show-stopping garnish to any salad.