Looking for an easy and space saving way to grow herbs, arugula, baby spinach and lettuce? Anything with small roots will grow well in this recycled canvas hanging bag (do not use plastic for drainage purposes). Just fill pockets with dirt; plant the seeds and watch them grow! Hang in a sunny spot but not too far from your door and you will have access to fresh herbs and greens daily!
Tips: I cut my hanging bag in half because I did not need 6 layers- otherwise, it would have been to heavy and too long.
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My first question yesterday, “What toppings belong on a pizza?”.
My niece yelled, “Pepperoni”.
My response, “Yes, but we are going to learn about other toppings you can grow and eat on pizza because we are making a Pizza Garden!”
My niece, “huh?????”
Yesterday, I posted an article on the benefits of children who garden. However, I realize it might be unrealistic to plot a large garden based on the location of your home and financial budget. I wanted to follow-up with some easy, cheap tips to help you and your little one garden in the most unexpected places.
If you want to encourage your child to eat more vegetables, combine gardening and cooking with your children. This can be done with theme gardens. I have included examples of themes below with some suggested plants for each theme. I have also included pictures from yesterday and as you can see our theme gardens are not complete because we are still expecting late frost.
Pizza Garden Ingredients:
- Tomato (Cherry and/or a larger variety)
- Red Pepper
- One “new” vegetable you want to encourage your child to eat on pizza but let your child pick out the plant.
Taco Garden Ingredients:
- Jalapeño Pepper
- Green Pepper
- One “new” vegetable you want to encourage your child to eat in tacos but let your child pick out the plant. We use kale.
Gluten Free spaghetti Garden:
- Spaghetti squash
- Tomato (Roma tomato)
- One “new” vegetable you want to encourage your child to eat in tacos but let your child pick out the plant.
Sensory Smelling Garden:
Directions for each garden:
- Get dirty and have fun!
- One long planter box filled with potting soil (not potting mix).
- Follow planting directions that accompany the plant.
- Let your children do most of the work and explore.
WARNING: it will get messy!
- Let the child make a sign for the garden.
- A child is never too young to play in dirt or with plants.
- Encourage the child to do most of the work and maintain the garden.
- Talk to the child about the herb or vegetable as they plant them. Discuss color, smell, touch, and uses on pizza or in a taco.
- When it is time to make your pizza or taco, let your child harvest the produce and cook in the kitchen.
Spring has sprung, leaves are budding, rabbits are hopping, and the sun is shining. Did you know you can increase vegetable consumption; environmental awareness; achieve better grades; improve life skills and wellness just by playing in the dirt?
Increase Vegetable Consumption
- Children who garden eat more vegetables. Not only do they eat more vegetables but they prefer them and they want to taste new ones![i]
- Children who garden have a better understanding of nutrition.[ii]
Love Mother Earth
- Children who garden respect our earth.[iv]
- Children who garden respect our earth as adults.[v]
Better Grades in School
- Children who garden have better achievement scores in school.[vi]
Improved Life Skills
- Children who garden work better in groups and have a better self-understanding.[vii]
- Children who garden have a higher self-esteem, sense of ownership and responsibility.[viii]
- Children who garden eat better as adults and decrease their risk of chronic disease.[ix]
- Children who garden are happier. They work and play in dirt that contains a beneficial bacterium in soil which makes us happier by decreasing anxiety.[x]
- Children who garden relieve stress.[xi]
Children who garden have MORE!
[i] Ratcliffe M.M. PhDThe Effects of School Garden Experiences on Middle School-Aged Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Associated With Vegetable Consumption. Health Promot Pract January 2011 12: 36-43
[iv] Gardens are often the most accessible places for children to learn about nature’s beauty, interconnections, power, fragility, and solace.” (Heffernan, M. (1994). The Children’s Garden Project at River Farm. Children’s Environments. 11(3): 221-231.
[viii] Alexander, J. & D. Hendren, (1998). Bexar County Master Gardener Classroom Garden Research Project: Final Report. San Antonio, Texas.