Want to get kids more involved in growing their own food? Kids gardening is so much fun as you’ll see in this recap of year one of my daughter’s garden.
As a family we grow a lot of our own vegetables and fruits in our 1/8 acre urban backyard. Some years of course are better than others, but consistently we’ve been producing more and more each year, moving to more self-sufficiency and what I hope will become an urban homestead.
My daughter has always had an interest in what we are growing. From helping me seed flats in the greenhouse or in the garden to picking out weeds and bringing plant waste to the compost.
So it was natural to consider providing her with a place to call her own and for her to grow her own vegetables. I had the idea of adapting the design of my large cedar raised beds and build a smaller version for her. She even helped me built it by handing me screws!
So let’s have a look at her progress starting with the planter box and then looking at her harvests.
The Children’s Garden Planter Box
We built this 2’x3′ planter box out of cedar the previous fall. Fall is a great time to do this as the weather is not always good to do gardening outside and we are lucky to have space in our garage (once we moved the car) to build things!
As mentioned above my daughter helped me by giving me screws. We built it in an afternoon.
We both liked the design so much that I decided to release the plans and how-tos as an eBook. If you are interested in building one yourself for your child or grandchild (hint: the box would make a great Christmas or birthday present!), read more about the eBook and the great bonuses that come with it.
Filling Up the Planter Box
We filled her box up with quality homemade compost. Here she is cleaning up some compost that spilled on the top trim of her box.
Planning it out
First step before planting was to figure out what to plant. We based it on what she likes to eat and what would grow quickly and well. It ended up being a bit hit and miss, with not everything working out as we planned it, but for the most part it was okay for her first year.
We picked the varieties based on what we were planting in the main garden (so that we didn’t have to buy so many seed packets). We looked through our seed catalogue and I took her with me to the garden centre to buy the seeds.
Seeding it up
Once the weather warmed up a bit we went outside to plant up the box.
First some pea seeds that needed to be inoculated for better nitrogen fixing.
Make a small furrow:
And plant the seeds!
Here are some radish seeds:
And a sheet of lettuce seeds we made following these steps:
To this in just a few months!
My daughter struggles with eating greens but after starting to grow lettuce, she now loves having a salad with lettuce, tomato, cheese and cucumber or putting lettuce on her sandwich or wrap. Here’s just one of the numerous harvests of lettuce from her box.
We grew Borlotti drying beans for the first time, both in our main garden and a few plants in her box. We didn’t realize they grow to over 20′ so had to temporarily staple up a net on the greenhouse behind her box to allow the vines to climb up past the stake teepee we put up.
And finally she had a decent carrot harvest. We planted a rainbow blend so she was quite happy to have one of each colour! Small but tasted sooooo good.
So as you can see, getting children involved in gardening is worthwhile. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and ownership. And they learn a valuable skill that hopefully they will use in the future to grow their own food when they are adults. We can only hope for that for the health and well-being of the world.
Next year I hope to take some video and document the progress of her garden better. The second year should be much better now that we know how much she can grow in the box and she knows how to grow plants.
If you enjoyed this article, have something to add or have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Wishing you all the best!
Tranquil Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC