When I was a kid my parents grew many things — flowers, plants, berries, veggies, trees… you name it! We lived in the country, and while they had office jobs by trade, we all relished in the fact that we lived on many acres with the potential to grow some of our own food. My sister and I always helped, whether with weeding, seeding or watering.
It was interesting for me when my three-year-old daughter took an interest in growing flowers and planting her own seeds. We bought her a plant for her room for her to water and care for, but she wanted to do more. I felt a little overwhelmed and unsure of where to start, but we went out and got seeds, soil and planters to try growing some veggies. We started planting indoors to grow some seedlings – lettuces, cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucumber (all my daughter’s favourites!). I somehow knew just what to do, without having to research online or read a book. It eventually dawned on me that it was because my parents had incorporated growing into our daily lives when I was a kid. We learned by doing, and I’m happy to be passing that on to my daughter now. My one-year-old son can now join in and learn about growing his own food too. The things you teach your children early on have a lasting effect, and they’re never too young to start! Even if growing food isn’t for you, choices that you teach your kids, such as composting, recycling, walking instead of driving, not wearing fur or leather, and so on, can and will have a lasting effect, if those are the norms in your family.
Some benefits of growing your own veggies with your kids:
- reduced environmental impact (no planes, trains or automobiles were used to transport your food from the farmer’s field to your grocery store, and then to your home; you didn’t need to take a trip by car or transit to get your food; a large patch of land wasn’t needed to grow your food, etc.)
- all organic, no pesticides needed!
- instills a sense of pride and accomplishment in your kids
- your kids might be more likely to eat the veggies they grow themselves (great for picky eaters!)
- you can teach your kids about how a seed grows into a plant, and all the things a seed needs to thrive
- you’ll save some money on food (especially as the average family spends about $200 each week on groceries…ouch!)
- your kids will learn to appreciate nature and learn about insects too
- less waste — you don’t need bags or packaging with your own food, and you’re more likely to eat all the food you grow rather than throw it out
- the fresher the food, the better it tastes!
You can get growing inside the winter or summer, as long as you have a warm, sunny place for your plants to live. Here’s a helpful guide: https://www.planetnatural.com/growing-indoors/