Let’s face it, getting kids to eat vegetables is hard. If they manage to eat anything more than a granola bar or macaroni in a day, it’s one for the books. If they manage 5 servings of fruits and vegetables? Dinnertime dance party.
One of the best ways to increase interest in vegetables is by growing your own. Yes, gardening. We know, sometimes keeping a child alive is almost too much, much less a cactus or tomato.
Tending food inspires curiosity, ownership and appreciation. So how do we find time to grow it?
Start Small with your Vegetable Garden
You don’t have to go big to impress. Three square feet is enough to feed you, from a planter or three pots. Just make sure they are a foot in diameter and depth, and use an organic potting mix like Sea Soil Container Completeor ProMixVegetable & Herb Mix. Containers reduce the need to weed, and with square foot garden spacing, can produce a whole lot!
Plant Low-Maintenance Vegetables
Memories of hours and hours spent weeding your grandmother’s backyard patch? It doesn’t have to be like that! Choose veggies and varieties that require a lot less work:
Carrot seeds can be sown, thinned, and harvested two months later without any other care needed. That’s it. And you can grow sixteen in one square foot container!
Love tomatoes? Choose a tiny or patio variety like Sweet ‘n Neat or Tumbler. One plant in one pot can keep you fed and doesn’t require pruning. Surround it with four basil and easy breezy Caprese.
Baby keeping you busy? Try some baby potatoes. Plant a seed potato a foot deep in a large container and wait. Once the plant flowers, dig around for nuggets, not of the diaper variety.
Other great low-maintenance veggies? Beets, onions, kale, strawberries, and herbs.
Choose Gardens that Water Themselves
Self-watering planters or pots contain a hidden reservoir where plants draw water into their roots through capillary action. Fill every few days and everyone is happy.
Too much to remember? Drip irrigation is set-and-forget it when attached to a timer.
Don’t forget the good old-fashioned method: chores. Have kids pick out a watering can and water their garden each day with three slow passes as they watch things grow.
Soon they will eat their own freshly picked veggies! Next up, train them to grow you a mojito. Now that’s a garden that works for you.
Carissa Kasper is the owner of Seed & Nourish Gardens where she offers design, coach and care of kitchen gardens in private residences and businesses across Vancouver & the North Shore.