|Growing things for the "wow" factor!
There are a million articles about the benefits of getting children to grow their own food, and I don't suppose I've got anything much to add. In a nutshell they learn:
- where some of their food comes from.
- what plants need to grow.
- patience- most plants take a LONG TIME to reach fruition in children's terms.
- responsibility- if you give up looking after your plants they may well snuff it!
- how delicious fruit and veg is when it's totally fresh.
- that it's fun to try something you haven't eaten before and see if it's "yum or yuk."
- to identify a range of fruits and veg.
- that things can still taste good even when they don't look supermarket-perfect.
- that gardening can be frustrating, especially when the slugs or caterpillars decimate your crop or the weather means you get hardly any ripe strawberries; but watching a little seed turn into a massive plant is like slow-motion magic and you get a real sense of achievement when you harvest and eat something that you grew yourself.
|The satisfaction of the harvest!
This all sounds a bit preachy. We didn't grow things in order to be healthy or educated or to cut the shopping bills (which is lucky because we've never had enough success to notice a difference there!) We grew plants for fun, and got the rest as an incidental.
|Our first attempts at growing veg in the veggie bed.
|A bean grown in a glass.
|Watering the greenhouse
These are the things we've found easiest and most enjoyable to grow:
|Danny pulls up a mutant!
|I growed this carrot!
Courgettes- They're dead easy to grow, have impressive flowers which show their bits really clearly so they're good for showing how the plants are pollinated by insects in order to turn into fruits; the courgettes swell up over a matter of days and children like to twist them round and round to pick them off the plant.
|In the runner bean teepee with a cucumber smile!
Rocket- we've grown a few salad leaves in our vegetable bed. Mostly they get eaten by the slugs, snail and caterpillars before they make it to the table. Rocket was probably the most successful and the boys liked its peppery flavour so much they lay on the edge of the veggie bed and nibbled the leaves off the plants like sheep grazing!
|Danny the pumpkin pie chef.
|Pumpkin pie- delicious (with plenty of squirty
I bought a packet of pumpkin seeds 3 Springs ago, and since then we've been able to keep and re-plant seeds from one we've grown, so they cost us nothing.
We have a couple of pots of herbs, which we intend to use for cooking but rarely do, and which the boys love tasting, tho they often spit the leaves out!
|Butterfly eggs on a brussel sprout leaf.
|The baby caterpillars tuck in.
|Danny nurturing his dwarf sunflower.
I've focused on the edibles, but growing flowers is also lovely for kids. Sunflowers of course, but we also had one year where we managed an amazing patch of poppies and other "wild" flowers on a heap of building site mud, that attracted lots of butterflies and massive bumble bees and was a source of great fascination to the boys. They really enjoyed eating nasturtium flowers and sprinkling the seeds out of the poppy heads once they were over too.
|Bumble bees enjoying the poppies in our wild flower patch.
I added this post to a blog hop, where lots of other people have put brilliant posts about growing things. Check out some of these: