WHAT TO PLANT

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - FOR KIDS -

The fol­low­ing is a list of five crops that are per­fect for a child’s gar­den. They are rel­a­tively easy to grow, have short grow­ing sea­sons and are fun to har­vest.

CHERRY TOMA­TOES

Grow­ing sea­son is 50-75 days. Plant in full sun and use seedlings rather than plant from seeds. Put in a 2-foot stake along­side each seedling; they need to be tied loosely to stakes as they get taller. Add lots of com­post. Wa­ter at ground level; try to keep leaves dry. Can also be grown in containers.

LET­TUCE

Seeds ger­mi­nate in seven to 10 days; grow­ing sea­son is 40-50 days. A quick and re­li­able crop that en­ables chil­dren to see fast re­sults. Also a good way to in­ter­est them in sal­ads! Let­tuce likes par­tial shade; keep soil moist, es­pe­cially dur­ing first two weeks. Va­ri­eties in­clude “head” (space 8 inches apart) and “leaf” (space 4 inches apart). Leaf va­ri­eties ma­ture sooner, about 30-35 days.

POTA­TOES

A “never-fail” crop. Plant red or white va­ri­eties; red ma­tures faster. Cut seed pota­toes into chunks with at least two eyes per chunk. Plant in fur­rows 12-15 inches apart, with eyes point­ing up­ward. Mound soil around plant as it grows; har­vest when plant col­lapses.

SNOW PEAS

A quick-grow­ing crop that’s fun for chil­dren to eat right off the vine, in­clud­ing the pod. They take about 10 days to ger­mi­nate and ma­ture in about 60 days. Peas pre­fer cool, shady lo­ca­tions. They should be planted about 1 inch apart at the most.

SUN­FLOW­ERS

A must for a child’s gar­den. They sprout in a week, be­come small seedlings in two weeks and are about 2 feet tall in a month. In about eight weeks, they be­gin re­veal­ing hun­dreds of seed ker­nels. Sun­flow­ers dry nat­u­rally in late sum­mer sun. The seeds, which are rich in pro­tein and iron, can be roasted for snacks.

Gar­den­ing can also teach them team build­ing and pro­mote com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

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