I know not everyone is into growing vegetables, but believe it or not, this is how most children become interested in gardening. There are so many cold crop vegetables that grow in short periods of time, the results are watchable almost daily and most can be put on the table to taste or eat.
Not only is the growing a first class science experiment, but the preparation and cooking integrates language, math and science. Think of some new words to learn such as germinate, soil, fertilizer, even photosynthesis and phototropism (even young children can be introduced to these terms and an explanation of the meaning - remember this is an introduction, not mastery). Growing veggies is such a great way to get children to try new things, especially if they grew it and nurtured it into adulthood and finally to the table.
I began growing veggies at age eight on a thirty foot city lot in Chicago. I probably would have begun earlier but I lived in an apartment in the big city. Neither of my parents were gardeners, but my aunt was, my mentor who I followed around the garden on my hands and knees learning about each plant as we hobbled along. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my first crop was carrots. I have carrots growing this year layered in between the lettuces. They seem to be doing just great, but my radishes have lots of little nibbles showing, don't think I planted them at the time recommended by the Farmers Almanac!
I love the Red Rosie lettuce, so dark and mysterious, Oakleaf Panisse is a brighter green than any other Oakleaf that I have grown. I have already planted two Celebrity tomatoes because they are determinate and do not take over my small garden. I had to have a Beefmaster but still have not received my Brandy Boys and peppers from Burpee. I did add some hot banana peppers, jalapenos, mild banana peppers and basil.