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A vegetable garden for kids?

Kids love growing vegetables. But how do you get them started, keep them excited, and what are easy plants they can grow? This page covers tips and tricks for all ages.
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Jonas: proud of his garden box
Kids love a vegetable garden, especially their own. At least, when everything's going well.

Because, when you start thinking about it, a lot of questions come up. Like:
  • How do you set up a garden so kids can grow themselves?
  • Is there such a thing as too young to start?
  • Which vegetables are kid-friendly?
  • How do you teach them what to do?
  • And of course, how do you keep it fun (for them and for you)?
Here are all my tips and tricks for a super fun vegetable garden that kids love.

Vegetable gardening: is that really something for kids?

Yes, kids can really get into it. I liked it when I was growing up. But when things didn't work out, I stopped: too complicated, too many weeds, too much work and not enough to show for it.

A Planty Garden is different. It's just the fun parts of gardening, without all the hassle. There's not much that can go wrong, so kids stay engaged. And they reap the benefits 🙂

When their vegetables and flowers grow fast, taste good, and look amazing, kids are sold forever. 
Kinderen aan het werk in hun eigen moestuinvakken
Little kids busy with their garden boxes
When a kid has their own garden and takes care of it themselves, it can have a huge impact:
  • they get enthusiastic
  • start playing outside more
  • gain self-confidence
  • can concentrate better
  • develop an understanding of nature
  • and become more aware of the environment
I'm not making this up 🙂 Lots of research shows that gardening at a young age has positive effects. I also hear this straight from parents too.

Another big bonus: kids eat more vegetables. Which makes sense, because they want to taste what they've grown themselves:
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Home-grown carrots. Who wouldn't want to try these?
The more you try food you've grown yourself, the more you like it.

But some kids don't like vegetables

So, that's definitely a thing. But it's different when they have their own garden.

Heidi emailed me about her son's birthday party. There were seven 9-year-olds.

Her son picked vegetables from his garden box and all the kids tried them. All 7 kids! She wrote: "Even the notoriously picky eaters. Their enthusiasm was contagious."

This is just one story, but you get the idea. Seeing something grow makes kids curious, even in the pickiest eaters.

How do you get kids excited?

No sweat. If you start a Planty Garden yourself, your kids will soon want to join in. Because what's more fun than doing something together with your (grand)parents?
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Sowing and planting together
And you get to experience your kid having fun. What's better than that? 

To them, the plants come up like magic. They're excited about the critters too: the butterflies, bees, and worms. 

Even the snails and caterpillars are fun. Well, until they eat the plants. Then suddenly they're a lot less popular.

Give them their own garden box

What's better than having a garden of your own?

Start small with an MM-Mini or an MM-Airbak, or go for a full garden box. As long as your kid can easily reach every plant, the sky's the limit.
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Judith with her own garden box

Is gardening too hard for kids?

Not if you do it right from the start.

There is some learning involved. But with our system, growing vegetables is kid-proof. Kids ages 8 and up can do a lot by themselves.

Just look at Sven. He's been growing with Planty for five years now. It all started with a talk at school about tomatoes. He even has his own Youtube channel about his Planty Garden, the Outdoor Buddies (Buiten Buddies).
Sven en zijn zusje: nu al voor het derde jaar lekker bezig
Sven and his sister have been growing for years
 

How do you teach kids to grow vegetables?

They learn best by doing.

When they're little, they do it together with you. But ages 8 and up can do a lot on their own. 

All videos from Villa Achterwerk.

What's a good age to start?

With help from the app, kids around 7 or 8 can take care of their own vegetable garden box and do a lot independently.

At age 10, they can do even more themselves, and 12+ can do everything independently.

Help out a little now and then

Of course, you'll need to help them out a little. Somebody's got to put together the garden boxes and order the MM-Mix. 

And sometimes they'll need help caring for the plants. Really young kids sometimes forget to water or thin them out. A heatwave, unexpected late frost, hungry birds, or a family of snails can also lead to some disappointment.

Help them with loving reminders, comforting words, and sampling the harvest: even that half-pecked tomato 😉

If there's a temporary lapse in interest, you might need to step in. But that's what you're a parent for, right? And there's an extra bonus: you get to have all their fun in the garden.
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Kids can take care of their own garden box

Which plants are good for starting out?

Some easy, fast-growing vegetables are radishes, lettuces, and bok choi.

But it's also important that the garden looks nice. You want different heights, colors, and shapes so that it's not just nice to eat, but nice to look at. 

Flowers give the garden that little extra something. You'll find a few (edible) flower options in the shop. 
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A garden box should be fun for kids to look at too
Choose delicious varieties that you can pick and eat in one go, like snack cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots.

With ready-to-plant seedlings from the garden center, kids can harvest even sooner.

In a nutshell:

  • The Planty Gardening system lets kids grow vegetables independently.
  • Give little kids a small garden box or grow bag so they can reach everything easily.
  • Use easy and fast-growing vegetable varieties. 
  • Grow together, but let your child do as much as possible on their own.
  • Help them remember their to-do's and help out once in a while.

Enjoy your time in the garden!

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