Passing the gardening torch down our kids and grandkids is what all gardeners hope to do. Lack of outdoor space makes traditional gardening not a feasible option for many, but container gardening can be done anywhere and kids love it.
Make the container garden an interesting and fun place that will hold kids’ attention and keep them interested until harvest time. Kids are notorious for being impatient, they don’t have the patience to remain interested in gardening while waiting 10 days for seeds to germinate, they want results sooner rather than later. These vegetable and flower choices are fast to sprout and will help hold kids’ interest by offering an unusual characteristic.
Jewel-colored nasturtiums grow well in containers and sprout in about three days. The blooms and leaves of this colorful flower are edible and have a peppery flavor that makes a great addition to green salads. Nasturtiums are also high in vitamin C.
Sunflowers come in a dwarf variety that is perfect for growing in containers. The plant will reach a mature height of about 12 inches and produce a seed-filled head that can be harvested and dried. The flower head follows the sun throughout the day, keeping kids interested in watching it grow. The seeds can be dried and eaten by humans or used as birdseed.
Use any type of bean or lentil, such as mung bean, pinto or garbanzo, and soak overnight in cold water. Plant shallowly in containers and in a few days bean sprouts will appear. The sprouts can be snipped off when they are 1-2 inches tall and used in salads or eaten as-is. Each bean variety produces sprouts that have unique flavor and texture, so this is a good container garden experiment for kids to discover which bean sprouts they like best.
Strawberries are a winning fruit with most kids and are easy to grow in containers. They are not fast-growing, but by using a multi-tiered strawberry pot or container, you can plant different varieties in the same container and enjoy fresh strawberries all summer.
A favorite kids vegetable (some may argue fruit) that is easy to grow in containers and fun to pick and eat straight from the vine. But when container gardening with kids, make an ordinary tomato plant more interesting by planting companion plants around the base. Oregano and basil grow beautifully in the same container as a tomato plant and will enhance the tomato’s flavor.