FamilyFun - - DIG IN -

How does your gar­den grow? With help from the kids, we hope! Plant­ing veg­eta­bles has been shown to help ward off picky eat­ing and give kids an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for na­ture, and it’s also a good time. “To me, work­ing in the gar­den has al­ways meant go­ing out­side and hav­ing a blast,” ex­plains 12-yearold Emma Biggs. “I get to plant veg­eta­bles, wa­ter flow­ers, col­lect bugs, and get muddy!” It’s no won­der she feels this way: Her dad, Steve, is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and loves to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for Emma to en­joy his pas­sion for plants. (The two are even writ­ing a kid-to-kid gar­den­ing guide due out next year.) Here, their ideas for get­ting your crew in on the ac­tion too:


For an easy way to get started, group your plants around some­thing your fam­ily al­ready en­joys. You can do a mini gar­den for snack-size pic­nic foods, with plants such as cherry to­ma­toes, snap peas, or even mouse mel­ons, which look like tiny wa­ter­mel­ons. Or choose a recipe and plant all the fix­ings, like to­ma­toes, onions, and cilantro for a salsa. Fa­vorite-color gar­dens are also fun: “A pur­ple gar­den could have pur­ple car­rots, peas, beans, to­ma­toes, kale, and, of course, pur­ple flow­ers,” says Emma.


“I also love grow­ing un­usual things,” Emma says. “Stuff that I won’t see in the su­per­mar­ket.” Go for any­thing with a weird color, shape, or size, such as white car­rots or Mex­i­can sour gherkins, which are a lit­tle like a mini cu­cum­ber but also look like a wa­ter­melon. You can even grow no-heat jalapeños! “I like to take th­ese in my lunch to show my friends at school,” she adds.


“The gar­den should be a space where ev­ery­one can hang out to­gether,” says dad Steve. Es­pe­cially with kids, it’s not al­ways about har­vest­ing the crop. Build te­pees out of climb­ing bean plants, or bring in a few bales of hay that kids can use as gi­ant blocks. Some plants can even dou­ble as art sup­plies: Ma­genta spreen is a pur­ple herb that will leave a pink pig­ment when rubbed on the skin or on pa­per. “We never even got around to eat­ing that one, be­cause we were so busy play­ing with it!” Emma says.

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