Do you want to get started gardening with children but aren’t sure what to plant? When we’re not homeschooling during the year, we love to be in the garden. (Checking the garden and saying goodnight to our neighbors is our after-bath ritual! Take a bath to get dirty, you know?)
Today I’ve put together a list of the best plants for a summer children’s garden. Because they are fast-growing, colorful and fragrant, they’re especially fun for little ones to experience. We used to have big raised bed, but this year we are growing our garden in some containers on our patio; you can do this so many ways. Have fun!
1.) Green Beans: You have two choices here, and both will grow quickly and be lots of fun. You can put these right in the ground or start them in cups of potting soil set in a sunny window.
If you have room and a trellis, a pole bean variety like Kentucky Blue will give a tender, sweet bean and charming Jack and the Beanstalk vines. It will produce all season. (This is our favorite way to grow them!)
A bush bean variety like Blue Lake will give you the same quality, but on a smaller, non-vining plant. They are happy in the hot, summer sun. Sixty days after planting it will produce on crop and then it is done; so consider sowing some more beans a few weeks after your first planing!
Either way, serve with plenty of butter (it helps absorb nutrients!)
2.) Sunflowers: These summer garden staples are especially pretty planted along a fence line! Try Mammoth sunflowers for towering fairy-tale flowers. For flowers that can be cut and put in a vase, try a smaller, branching variety like Suntastic Yellow.
3.) Zinnias: These are my favorite summer flowers; they are fast-growing, colorful, and last a long time in a vase! I recommend a mix for lots of color variety. Sow these right into the soil and look for sprouts within a week.
4.) Plum tomatoes: We always grab a Roma tomato seedling from the nursery for making pico de gallo and pizza sauce for summer grilled pizzas (both things my kids love)! Need I say more?
5.) Mint: I asked my kids what their favorite garden herb was and they all said “mint!” They love to pick leaves and put them in glasses of ice water on hot days. (We’re fancy.) I recommend a pot or container for this herb, because this thing will pop up all over your garden and it will never go away! Ask me how I know.
6.) Strawberries: It takes a lot of established plants to get any kid of useful yield, but I still like to have a few of these for fun. Kid’s love the fun of plucking these out of the garden and eating them on the spot. Out of the years we grew them, I don’t think one strawberry ever made its way into my kitchen!
I can’t wait to get some green beans started in our kitchen window. Do your kids have any summer garden favorites?