Children's Vegetable Gardening Supplies Ashland KY
South Point, OH
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Groundcovers, Perennials, Plants, Shrubs, Trees
Groundcovers, Perennials, Plants, Shrubs, Trees
Groundcovers, Perennials, Plants, Shrubs, Trees
Grow Your Own Salad Indoors
Do you miss eating tender, fresh greens from the garden? Making salads from store-bought packages of baby spinach, lettuce, and mesclun grown in Mexico or California just isn’t the same. So why not grow your own greens? It’s not hard, even in winter -- all you need are some grow lights, seeds, soil, and time.
Growing greens indoors not only perks up your winter salads, it can be a conversation starter with your child or grandchild about where our food comes from. Visit a supermarket together and have your child check the produce aisle for the countries of origin listed on packages of vegetables and fruits. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying this imported food. Ask, How much energy does it take to ship food across the country, or an ocean, to get it to this grocery store? How could eating local food make a difference?
Now that you have your child’s attention, propose growing some of your own food indoors right now. Here’s how:Growing Great Greens
Greens are the easiest crops to grow indoors. Grow spinach, lettuce, mesclun mix, mustard, or kale and you can harvest the greens within a month! Fruiting vegetables, such as eggplant, tomato, cucumber, and squash, need more space and light to grow well than the average home can offer. To get started on greens, however, you just need a few things: grow lights, seeds, pots, and soil.
At the local garden center select quick-maturing varieties of greens that won’t grow too large, such as ‘Tom Thumb’ lettuce. Purchase soilless potting mix and plastic growing containers. You can also get creative and grow salad greens in recycled household containers. For example, the clear plastic containers that store-bought lettuce mixes come in make excellent growing trays. The key with any homemade container is to poke drainage holes in the bottom.Let There Be Light
The most important aspect of indoor growing is providing the right light. In December and January the sun is at its lowest angle in the sky and its lowest intensity of the year. The days are too short and dim for good plant growth. However, using a simple shop light you can increase the light intensity indoors enough to grow greens. Purchase a 2- or 4-bulb fixture and use either full-spectrum grow lights (the best option) or a combination of cool-white and warm-white fluorescent tubes. These bulbs will give your greens seedlings the right combination of light wavelengths and intensity to grow strong and full.Planting and Growing Seeds
Have your child fill your containers with moistened potting soil. Next, sprinkle the seeds about 1-inch apart on the soil surface and barely cover them with soil. You may want to help young children with this step. Place the planted containers under lights and keep the seeds and soil moist. Keep the bulbs on for 14 hours a day. Once the seeds germinate, keep the lights positioned just a few inches above the seedlings. Adjust the lights daily as the plants grow. A timer is a worthy investment, s...
Growing Food for Others
Growing an edible family garden is a great way to get your kids excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. It also provides a terrific opportunity to give back to your community.
Hunger is often hidden in the United States, but it has been exacerbated by the recent recession. It’s estimated that one in eight people in the U.S. are at risk for hunger and that 33 million people, including 13 million children, have to seek emergency food aid each year. What better way to teach young people about hunger than to have them actively involved in growing a garden, or part of a garden, for others? Whether it is in a garden at home or at school, kids growing food to deliver to local food pantries and soup kitchens build awareness of hunger in their community.
When planning to grow food to donate, begin by asking your local food pantry if there are any special vegetables, fruits, or herbs that they would like to have or that are easiest for them to manage. Chances are that crops they can store, such as potatoes and winter squash, would be easiest to handle. That being said, they probably still will take all the bush beans, cucumbers, basil, summer squash, and tomatoes you can give. Also, find out the best time for deliveries. There may be certain months or certain days when they experience higher demand for food. Use this information to decide what you want to grow.
Next, as you lay out your garden, come up with a plan for identifying which part of your harvest you will donate. One idea promoted by the Garden Writers Association is to dedicate one row in the garden for donations. This promotion is known as Plant a Row for the Hungry .
When harvest time comes, volunteer with your kids at the food pantry to help distribute the produce. Consider providing recipes to accompany the fruits and vegetables or maybe even offer cooking demonstrations. It’s a great way for children to see the impact of their donations firsthand.
Not only can kids grow food to give away at food pantries, they can be part of a larger effort by participating in national projects with similar goals. One program designed to foster the growth of community gardens across the country is called Give Back to Grow. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has teamed up with a number of national nonprofits, including NGA, to create Give Back to Grow. In eight cities nationwide, Scotts is donating money and supplies to either start a new community garden or enhance an existing one. The National Garde...
Growing the Healthiest Vegetables
We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables. It's estimated that as many as 90 percent of Americans don't eat the USDA's recommended number of servings of vegetables and fruits each day. One way to instill healthy eating habits at a young age is to grow vegetables at home with your kids and grandkids. Research shows that kids who garden are more likely to eat a greater quantity and wider variety of vegetables. But getting kids into the garden doesn't guarantee they'll eat all the vegetables you grow. And if you have limited space, which are the best vegetables to plant to get the biggest "bang for your nutrition buck"?Nurturing Healthy Eating Habits
In my experience, most kids are willing to try a variety of different vegetables if they help to grow them and if it seems like a fun thing to do. When you introduce kids to a new vegetable, try to do it in the garden, so they see where the vegetable came from. They'll also get to taste the vegetable when it's as fresh as possible and at its most nutritious. I've seen plenty of dubious kids gobble up fresh, sun-warmed cherry tomatoes and sweet peas picked right off the vine.
If your kids don't like the raw flavor or texture of a fresh-picked vegetable, or a vegetable tastes better cooked, then get creative in the kitchen. Mix some healthy garden vegetables into your child's favorite dishes. For example, add finely grated carrots to macaroni and cheese casseroles, chopped spinach to omelets, or broccoli florets to homemade pizzas. You might even get away with diced eggplant in tomato sauce! Some kids may not notice the difference, while others may wonder about the extra 'color' in their favorite dish. It's important not to try to fool kids. Instead, explain that these are the vegetables your children helped grow in the garden. You may be surprised at how easily they accept the 'guests' -- acceptance often accompanies children's pride in their accomplishment, and makes the difference between them eating or not eating that colorful veggie casserole.The Most Nutritious Vegetables
If you have limited space and think you'd prefer to grow only highly nutritious vegetables, be aware that these options aren't always the most kid-friendly. It's better to start with fresh vegetables your kids will eat, even if they aren't at the top of the nutrition charts. You can always grow more nutritious crops another year, once your kids have developed a taste for garden-fresh produce. The following vegetables are nutritious and generally liked by kids:
Broccoli -- This crucifer-family vegetable contains high levels of anti-oxidants such as sulforaphane and beta-carotene, as well as vitamins A and K, folate, and fiber.
Dark leafy greens -- Spinach, collards, and kale are good examples of dark leafy greens that are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, folate, iron, and potassium.
Peas -- Peas contain vitamins B1, C, and K, as well as manganese, fiber, and folate.
Carrots -- C...