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Gardening for Kids – Creating an Edible Garden on a Budget

Gardening with your kids is a wonderful way to spend some time together getting to know Mother Nature and her cycles better.  In our fast paced technology driven world today it’s increasingly important to help your child find ways to connect to the natural world and gardening for kids is a wonderful way to engage all of their senses.  But by far the best part about creating an edible garden is eating what you grow.

You don’t need to spend a fortune or have a big space to create an exciting and productive edible garden that both you and your kids will want to spend time in.

What you’ll need to get started

You’ll need to collect together the following items

  • Plastic planters or pots. You can pick these up for good price in places like the Reject Shop but if you’re on a tight budget try contacting a local landscaping company and asking if they’ll give you a couple of big plastic pots for free.
  • Several bags of potting mix
  • A small bag of cow or chicken manure
  • Plant seedlings from your local nursery
  • A stake or a small trellis if you plan on growing climbing plants like cucumber, peas and beans.
  • A hose

Best edible garden plants to grow in Brisbane

Unless you’re a natural green thumb focus on edible plants that thrive in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer and don’t require too much attention aside from regular watering.

  • Cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest and most rewarding edible plants to grow when gardening with kids

edible garden

  • Kitchen herbs such as Basil, Parsley, Oregano and Marjoram are easy to grow and are all fairly low maintenance and you’ll always have the ingredients on hand to make a killer bolognaise sauce!
  • Baby beetroots
  • Snow peas
  • Beans
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Filling a pot with lettuce seedlings means you can keep picking the leaves for your summer salads as they grow

Planting your edible garden

Choose where you want your garden to be.  The ideal spot is somewhere that gets sun in the morning but is shaded in the afternoon.  Also choose somewhere where you’ll walk past regularly so you won’t forget to water them.

The bigger your pot the better as bigger pots don’t dry out as quickly.  Plant different types of edible plants together in one pot, this helps to confuse pests. Choose one vegetable and two to three herbs for each pot depending on the size.  If your kids are school aged you might like to research companion plants to help control pests and diseases as a little side project.

Fill the pots with potting mix but leave several inches of space at the top.  Filling right to the top leaves no room to plant your plants and makes your pots harder to water as the water runs straight off the top.  Let your child help you bucket the potting mix into the larger pot.

Dig a hole with your hands or a small trowel and remove your plant from its pot, pop it in the hole and cover the hole back over with soil again.  Help your child to gently press the soil down around the base of the plant using the tips of their fingers.

When you’ve finished planting everything, give all the pots a little sprinkle with cow manure and then help your child to water them well.

Keep your edible garden well-watered and in a water weeks you’ll be reaping the edible rewards for your hard work.

Plant the seeds for a lifelong love of plants and gardening in kids

It’s never too early to get your kids involved in gardening and edible gardens are an exciting project to involve the whole family in.

Gardening for kids is also a great way to unplug them from the TV and iPad for a while.  It’s fun, everyone gets some exercise and fresh air, and it’s a great way for them to start to learn where food comes from.  Growing an edible garden is also effective at helping to encourage fussy eaters to stretch their taste buds and expand their eating repertoire.  Gardening for kids gets a great big green thumbs up!

More local gardening information

Gardening with children articles

Find more great articles about enjoying family time around the home here.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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