WHAT TO PLANT
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.