Children love outdoors; be it digging in the dirt, playing around the trees or being curious about nature. Spending time outside is an engaging and fruitful activity not just for kids but also their parents who can do with some screen-free time. One of the best ways to encourage a love for nature among kids is by helping them grow and maintain their very own veggie garden.
How does it help?
develops a caring nature
teaches them to be patient & responsible
introduces them to scientific concepts
helps them learn about the importance of the environment & sustainability
helps to keep them away from screens!
Let’s get started!
Make a list You can begin with making a list of all the possible vegetables that you can grow in your garden. Carrots, Beets, Garlic, Tomatoes, Peas & Eggplant would be a good start. This would largely depend on the area you have , the weather condition in your city and the availability of the seeds. Make sure to include the little ones in the whole planning process. You may prepare a list of questions to discuss with your child.
For example: a) What will be the layout of the garden? b) How will we set up the veggie garden in the space we have? (Note: You don’t need a large space to grow your own veggies) c) Is there enough sunlight in our garden space for the vegetables? d) where will you get the seeds from? e) Will you need any organic manure? f) Who is responsible for watering the plants daily?
Purchase the necessary items Once you have finalised your plan about the area, plants & seeds and organic manure, go online to shop for the required items in your list.
Some of the popular websites that will deliver in time are:
You may add some pots, soil, seeds for plants which you cannot find at home along with the following gardening tools: a) Hand Trowel: It helps in potting, planting and transplanting b) Scissors: It helps to shape the plants and trim dead leaves. c) Water container: A container which can be used to water the plants *Make sure to choose child sized tools.
In case you can't shop for things online, look for these at home:
DIY Pot: Reusable tin box as a make-do pot. All you need is a few holes at the bottom for air. You can even paint them in your favorite colors.
DIY Compost: Collect dried leaves, twigs, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, shredded newspapers, even old potting soil, and get composting.
Seeds which are easy to find in your Kitchen: Tomato, Lady finger, Chillies, Coriander, Bottle Gourd, Lemon, etc.
Once you have the seeds, plants, tools & pots in place, you can start with your gardening work. Here are some tips to grow Tomatoes & Garlic which are commonly grown in India.
Tomatoes are quite easy to grow. All you need is rich garden soil to aid their growth. You can add kitchen waste and egg shells to fertilise the soil. You can follow the following steps:
Step 01: Scoop out tomato seeds from a tomato at home
Step 02: Take a few paper cups and fill half of the cups with the nutrient rich soil.
Step 03: Place the seeds carefully and cover them with dry soil
Step 04: Ask your kids to sprinkle water on the cups daily till the seeds start sprouting
Step 05: Once the plants are over an inch tall then replant them in your garden area, balcony or home-made pot.
Similarly, you can grow lemon by picking lemon seeds Garlic Garlic has gained much popularity with its immune boosting properties and is a widely used ingredient in Indian cuisines. To grow garlic, you will need 1 or 2 garlic bulbs, water and an area in your garden that has sufficient sunlight. Once you have everything in place then follow these steps:
Step 01: Break the garlic cloves apart
Step 02: Plant them with their tail facing upwards in your pots or garden area.
Step 03: Water them everyday
Step 04: Patience is key with garlic as homegrown garlic can take upto 5-6 months to sprout.
Once everything is done, all you have to do is enjoy the fruits (in this case vegetables) of your hard work which not only helps you eat fresh organic vegetables but also saves some money on groceries ;)
Let us know in the comments below your favorite vegetable to grow in your home garden with your children.