Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can start an easy to grow garden with your preschooler.
While some things are harder to grow then others, the following five things are easy to go and will help your preschooler learn how foods go from outside in the garden to inside in the home.
Kids will recognize the smell of oregano from pizza, pasta sauce and other Italian foods that they’ve eaten. Being able to see what smells familiar to them can help them relate to how foods go from being a seed to being in the foods they eat. Oregano can be grown outdoors from the end of May on. Press the oregano seeds gently into the ground about 10 inches apart and water them occasionally, when the soil seems dry. Once the plant is about four inches tall or has 12 leaves, you can begin harvesting it. The oregano seed should germinate in 10-14 days.
Kids will love the vibrant orange and yellow colors of the marigold flowers. Once the threat of frost is over and the soil is warm, plant marigold seeds directly into the garden, 6 inches apart, in a location where there is plenty of sunshine. Place the seed gently onto the soil and cover lightly with ¼ inch of soil. Water the seeds thoroughly once. During dry periods, water once or twice per week. By midsummer you should see your first blooms.
Strawberries are most easily grown from seedlings in early spring. Depending on the type of strawberry seedlings you purchase, they can be planted 12 to 20 inches apart. Plant in an area that gets full sun and add compost or aged manure to the soil as you plant. Water the strawberry seedlings regularly. While you will get some strawberries the first year, the second year will yield a full harvest.
Children are more likely to eat foods that they’ve had a part in growing and preparing. For this alone, lettuce is a great vegetable to plant. Lettuce can be planted in spring, 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date. Plant seeds about ½ inch deep, 8 to 14 inches apart, depending on the variety, and cover with a fine soil. Water consistently so the soil is always moist. In about 8-14 weeks, you can expect your first harvest.
5. String beans (bush been seeds).
String beans are easy to grow and can help children learn how foods get from the garden to their dinner plates. Place green bean seeds in soil about 1 inch deep. Cover the seed with dirt to fill the furrow. Space the seeds 1-2 inches apart in rows that are 2 to 2 1/2 feet apart. Water seeds well. Depending on the type of seed you plant, you should see beans in 45-75 days.
Have you planted a garden with your preschooler? What did you grow? What worked for you and what didn’t? Share your tips in the comments below.