Ever since my little boy was a toddler he's had a genuine love for growing his own food (or at least planting seeds and then waiting until it's time to pick and eat it haha). He's five now and has just finished his first term at school. We run a home garden project at school where the kids grow their own vegetables in their own gardens. At the start of December judges (often ex parents etc) come around to visit the children's gardens. Luke was really excited to do this. I was too, until I realised it meant he needed two of the four raised vegetable gardens to meet the project requirements! haha So he's planning (with a lot of support) a pizza garden and salad garden.
I thought I'd share a few other things that I'm growing with Luke in the garden this year. I love how kids see so much magic in the garden.
Pizza toppings for the Pizza Garden - tomatoes, eggplant, spring onions, courgette, capsicum, and a selection of herbs. These will then be used to make homemade pizza and have a pizza party.
Colour and Fun Names - Anything that's colourful or has a fun name is a winner in our house e.g. bright lights silverbeet, rainbow or purple dragon carrots.
The Faster the Better - Little ones can be quite impatient when it comes to growing time so things like radishes, beans and peas are always popular. He will happily eat salad radishes like they're apples!
Sometimes Size Matters - This year I'm going to attempt to find space in the front garden to grow a giant pumpkin. I purchased an Atlantic Giant Pumpkin from Mitre 10 today. Does anyone have any tips on growing a really big one? Am I best to cut off some of the other flowers so more energy goes into producing 1-2 giant pumpkins? Luke has also planted Yates Ginormous FlowerZilla Sunflowers.
Fun with Fruit - We've planted a large strawberry patch, two miniature raspberry bushes and three blueberry bushes. We both love our berries! We're also going to grow a watermelon down the side of the house where his treehouse is soon to be made among the feijoa trees.
Pick and Eat - If you have had young children you'll know that they love to pick fruit/vegetables and eat them while they wander around the garden. Think carrots, peas, beans, cherry tomatoes, berries etc. We'll have all of these on the go by summer hopefully.
Flowers for the Bees and Butterflies - My little eco warrior is very environmentally conscious. This has come from some discussions as home, but has mainly been inspired by the amazing kindy he attended. Their kindy was the first in Northland to receive the Green Gold Enviro Schools Award, which was quite the achievement. As a result Luke loves looking after little creatures and is quite concerned about the bees. We'll also pop out shallow dishes of water for these little critters as the weather warms up.
Digging for Treasure - The first time we grew potatoes in bags I was reminded of the magic that gardening is. The excitement on my little boy's face as he emptied the bags and dug through the dirt to find potatoes was priceless. The past couple of years we've battled with psyllids at our old property so fingers crossed for a better season this year. Pulling up carrots, beetroot, radishes and anything else that grows magically under the ground has also provided the same response.
Garden Art, Bird Houses and Insect Hotels - While I'm busy thinking of ways to protect the gardens from birds (mainly the berries) Mr 5 has been busy working on encouraging birds into our garden. We're really lucky to get the odd Tui and lots of Silvereyes in our backyard. After making bird houses at school he came home wanting to paint his own one for the backyard. I had one stashed away in my garage. A few year's back a work mate's son was building them and selling them for a bit of extra pocket money. I bought one, but never did anything with it so Luke's had fun decorating this recently. One of his Calf Club projects this year is to create a piece of garden art or a bird feeder using upcycled materials. He's going to have a go at making a bird feeder using a tea cup (not china, don't worry) from his great nana. Watch this space. We'll also paint river stones to label what's in his garden. It makes the garden a bit extra special with a child's touch around the place.
I'd love to know what everyone else's children love to grow in the garden. We're always looking for new ideas :)