Each day, our kids are blasted with ads for greasy, cheesy, sugary, processed foods. It’s no wonder they turn up their noses when you present them with a bowl of veggies. Unless, of course, the vegetables are deep-fried and doused in Ranch dressing.
One way to get kids involved in making healthy choices is to bring them back to square one – and that’s in the garden. When children play a role in growing their own food, they’re more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables and learn a new sense of responsibility.
“Gardening teaches kids about being care givers,” said Gwenne Hayes-Stewart, executive director of Gateway Greening, via e-mail. Her organization promotes gardening partnerships for community development. “Consequences of poor care are evident nearly at once. Just as apparent are the consequences of paying attention to what plants need. Kids pick up on this quickly. No water, the plant dies. Too much water, the plant struggles. Making sure to check the soil first, and bingo, success!”
You still have time to introduce your kids to the benefits of gardening this summer. Although it’s getting too late to plant many fruits and vegetables, you’re only a few steps away from a delicious harvest this autumn.
Said Debbie Tolstoi of Garden Heights Nursery by e-mail, “In August, sow seeds for the fall season such as spinach, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, beets, turnips, radish, cilantro and dill. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants should be available in nurseries in late August or early September.”
I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it myself – planting and maintaining vegetables sounds like too much work. Believe me, I definitely don’t have a green thumb – it’s more like the black thumb of veggie death. However, Tolstoi had some excellent tips that make planting a garden a snap: