Vegetable Gardening With Your Kids

This is a guest post from Mike Lieberman who blogs at Urban Organic Gardener.
One of the excuses that I often hear from parents about not growing their own food is that they have kids and don’t have the time.

Why not include the kids and make it a family bonding experience? That’s what families have done for thousands of years. It’s not until recently that this trend has changed.

Lately, families and society have shifted the responsibility of food to others. We can go to the grocery store whenever we want to buy whatever we want. There is no sense of where it came from or what’s happened to it. It’s just there.

Food should be communal from the planting, growing, harvesting, preparing, sharing and eating. All of which bring a deeper appreciation for everything that’s involved in getting it to our plates. We have skipped straight to the eating part and most people even do that on the run as if it’s a chore.

There are a bunch of fun projects that you can do as a family to keep everyone involved, and keeping costs at a minimum, all while spending some quality family time together.

Now let’s get into how to start.

Deciding what to grow. Make this a family decision. Let everyone voice their opinions and come to a conclusion as a family.

Potting soil. Go to your local nursery or health food store and buy some organic potting soil to get started.

Starting seeds. There are many ways (and expensive supplies to buy) that you can start your seeds, but there is no reason for any of them. All you will need it some toilet paper rolls, potting soil and your seeds. Here’s a video of how to use toilet paper rolls as a seed starter pot.

After your seeds are planted, you’ll want to keep them in a nice sunny area and keep them moist. After a week or so, you’ll start to see sprouts develop and peek their way through the soil.

Containers. If you don’t have access to land, which is often the case, but have a porch, patio, fire escape or balcony, you can still grow your own food. You’ll just have to grow it in containers.

I’ve found that self-watering containers work great. There are four different ways that you can make a self-watering container.

You can get your kid involved by having them paint and decorate the container.

Caring for. You can divide up the chores of watering, checking for bugs and taking care of the plant amongst the family. Keep a journal and pictures of weekly progress to chart growth to show how the plant has grown.

Harvesting and preparing. You’ll have to harvest and pick the plant to get it ready for your meal. Then, you’ll have to decide how you want to prepare it. Come to this decision as a family.

Sharing. This is where it all comes together. If you made a salad for your dinner and the only ingredient that was homegrown in the salad was some parsley, you are certainly going to brag about that.

It’s that sense of accomplishment and pride that will shine through. You’ll tell everyone that you grew this parsley from seed. I’m certain that you kids will be bragging as well.

You don’t have to have a huge garden. All it takes is growing that one plant to make a difference. It will bring your family closer together and make you appreciate your food that much more.

What are you going to start growing?

Bio:Mike Lieberman, started to grow his own food on the fire escape of his New York City apartment in May 2009. He had no gardening experience and read about a half of a book on gardening when he started. In April of 2010, Lieberman moved to LA where he started a balcony garden and has continued to grow even more food.

Lieberman thinks that people have lost their connection with and appreciation for food. He encourages and inspires people to grow their own. His belief is that by growing just one plant, it will bring people closer to their food source and renew their appreciation for what goes into getting food to our plates.

You can follow his blog Urban Organic Gardener.