Kid’s vege patch

Primary school children have opportunities to learn about sustainable gardening at school, including the Organic School Gardens program provided free to all Australian school students by Biological Farmers of Australia, but younger children can also have a lot of fun learning to grow their own fruits and vegetables.
Although they have a shorter attention span, very young children learn quickly when copying adults especially when they have a small patch of soil or some large pots for their own organic garden. International research has shown that children are more likely to enjoy eating vegetables that they have grown themselves, or helped to grow.

Vegetables that mature quickly or are miniatures are appealing to small children. Small lettuces such as heat-tolerant ‘Little Gem’ or ‘Mesclun Mixed’ and cherry tomatoes: “Tiny Tim’, ‘Tommy Toe’ or ‘Yellow Cherry Cocktail’ are fast-maturing. ‘Butter Bush’, ‘Provider’ and ‘Strike’ produce small pods of beans with good flavour. ‘Little Finger’ carrots mature quickly and ‘Bolthardy’, “Bull’s Blood’ or ‘Golden’ beetroot harvested as baby beets are rich in health-protecting antioxidants. ‘Golden Nugget’ is a small bush-type pumpkin and children enjoy digging for ‘chat’ potatoes in summer.

In cooler weather, ‘Di Cicco’ broccoli, ‘Snowball’ cauliflower, ‘Sugarsnap’ and ‘Oregan Snow’ peas, milder flavoured ‘Bloomsdale’ English spinach and baby leeks harvested when 2 cm thick can all be appealing to children.
Strawberries, melons and corn all take longer to mature but are popular with children. ‘Minnesota Midget’ rockmelon and ‘Sugarbaby’ watermelon are fast-maturing; ‘Golden Bantam’ sweet corn and ‘Golf Ball’ or ‘Ontos’ popcorn usually produce multiple cobs per plant. Corn is a whole grain, and organic popcorn is a popular and healthy snack food for kids. (See Growing popcorn)
Seed varieties mentioned above can by obtained from Eden Seeds or Greenpatch Organic Seeds.

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2 Responses to Kid’s vege patch

  1. Matt says:

    Many of those suggestions don’t work as they are ready during the Xmas holidays. Perhaps in QLD they will work, but in cooler parts of The country they will not. I have never had a tomato, pumpkin or corn ready before Xmas holidays. Kids don’t enjoy eating lettuce, and the novelty of eating beetroot wears off after the first time so those crops are very limiting.
    So you have pretty much only suggested carrots and peas as realistic crops. I was really hoping for a few more crops that kids like to eat and are ready during the school year.

    Perhaps you didn’t notice that the first paragraph indicates this post was intended for young children in a home garden. If you are looking for suitable garden activities for school children Matt, you should go to the Organic Schools program website. The Organic Schools program is a free download of 12 lessons tailored for Australian primary school students with separate notes for supervisors, a crop rotation chart and simple recipes using produce from their gardens. Almost 2,000 schools are participating in this program.
    P.S. My grandkids love lettuce and most produce from the vege patch, including broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and this is common among children who have fun growing food.

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