Anytime is a great time to get outside with the kids. No matter what the weather (as long as you’re dressed appropriately) it will be a fun and rewarding experience!
I love spending time with the kids in our garden. It’s such an amazing opportunity to learn about our world from identifying bugs, watching the magic of a spider spin its web or observing plants as they grow. We recently started a veggie patch and it’s been a learning experience for us all!
There is plenty of scientific evidence about the benefits of being outside for our emotional and physical development, but here’s some reasons why I love growing veggies with my kids.
It can be done in any space, no matter how small
If you don’t have a big outdoor area, you can still grow herbs or veggies! Even no outdoor space at all isn’t a barrier. All you need is some soil, sunshine and a pot. You can grow seedlings in anything from a recycled milk bottle, to an old teapot or even a bucket- get creative! Stick with compact plants like basil or chili peppers and see how they go. Growing herbs or veggies doesn't need to be a complex task that involves an expensive trip to Bunnings.
I always used to roll my eyes at people when they said that kids are more likely to eat something they’ve grown. As if! But it really works. It hasn’t turned my guys into veggie loving monsters, but I’m happy if anything green goes within a metre of their mouths. Their willingness to try new and different tastes has definitely increased.
My guys also love to know that something they’ve produced has made it to the table. Whether it’s the two undersized cherry tomatoes in the salad or three strawberries in the lunchbox, it's pretty exciting to eat something you've grown and even better to share it!
My whole family seems to breathe a deep sigh of contentment when we’re in the garden. I’m not saying that cranky mum doesn’t threaten to take over when dirt is flying everywhere, or when they're spreading the decorative pebbles around (pet hate!)– but the connection to earth does seem to bring everyone down a notch or two. It's lovely to get into something physical together that's away from screens and our usual hectic schedule.
My son in particular has taken real ownership over out tiny veggie patch, which is fabulous! Gardening has been a great way to encourage responsibility, and given him a real sense of achieving something and contributing to the family. Who knows, maybe one day I'll let him have a pet!
Great opportunity for using your imagination
We’ve created fairy paths, signs and paddle pop stick creations to scare off the snails. We've planted plants especially for the wood pigeons to use as hiding places. We've imagined that the ladybird that flew away has gone home to his family, who are missing him. Growing vegies has sparked a whole new avenue of creativity and storytelling for us.
Growing veggies and herbs can test your patience, resilience and tolerance for mess, but it has so many benefits that it’s totally worth it! A word of advice is to start small, with easy plants to cultivate like snow peas, spring onions and silverbeet and build everyone’s confidence from there.
If you’re looking for what to grow right now, check out About the Garden for some ideas. In Victoria we’re looking at plants like coriander, garlic, oregano, parsley, thyme, English spinach, green beans and peas.
Happy gardening and happy eating!