The children enjoy having a potter in the garden and growing their own plants. We have now reached the stage where we want to go beyond the sunflowers and cress that are traditionally recommended as kid friendly things to grow so have decided to branch out (pun intended). We planted crocus bulbs and the kids spelt out their initials in crocuses. There was an ambitious plan to spell ‘Help’ in large letters as we are on a flight path but decided against it in case help actually came. They have also expressed an interest in cactii and venus fly traps. However, there was an unfortunate incident with a cactus plant on the way home from the garden centre, when the eight year old tripped whilst proudly carrying his new plant. This resulted in me picking cactus spikes out of his face with a pair of tweezers. However, we have had some successes so here are my top five things to grow with kids.
Radishes are very easy to grow. We started growing them in a window box in the days before our veg patch. They didn’t seem to mind at all and it is very satisfying pulling up the little pink radishes, very Peter Rabbit/Mr McGregor. No planting out required so great for beginners or the short of time.
Ice cream tulips and Cupcake Cosmos
If you want to go for some fun flowers, what could be better than going for some that look like sweet treats? Last year we went for ice-cream tulips and this year with have planted some cupcake cosmos. We have sown these in our sun room and they will need planting out but they look like cupcakes and pollinators love them. Not recommended for eating though.
AKA zombie veg. I remember doing this as a kid but they seem to have fallen from favour. Its extremely easy, free and takes no skill. Take your chopped carrot top and then put it in a saucer of water on a sunny window sill. They top will start sprouting greenery and springing back to life. Ours had visible greens in less than a week.
Is it a science experiment? Is it a vegetable? Its kind of both. Kids can grow their own mushrooms for their pizzas. We bought a kit which was super easy to use. They don’t take up much space and you don’t need a garden.
We didn’t grow these from seeds but bought small plants. They then went in the sunroom in a large pot and just needed a bit of water and a cane for support. The plant produced lots of miniature cucumbers which we even got to taste before the three year old went on a picking frenzy. They tasted pretty much the same as normal cucumbers but were easy and fun to grow. They are great veg for lunch boxes.
I hope this gives you a few ideas. We have other plants in progress where the children have seen a packet of seeds at the garden centre. I encourage them to experiment and try a few different things. They know not everything will grow or be successful and that’s half the fun. Good luck!