I’ve got a brown thumb. Not a green thumb, a brown one. Whatever plants I try to grow die. One year I started seedlings in the house to transplant to the garden when the weather warmed only to have them get eaten by the neighborhood rabbits. I am not sure I will ever succeed in creating a kitchen garden but once again I am trying.
When my children were young, I had them help prep all the veggies for dinner. As early as 18 months, my children could be found sitting on the kitchen floor with a bowl and lettuce leaves that they were tearing up for the meal. As they got older and the omnivorous enjoyment of veggies waned, I’d encourage the kids to choose a “special” vegetable from the produce section at the grocery store that we would all eat.
Although my kids are good eaters in general (and my oldest has been a vegetarian since first grade), vegetables remain the biggest challenge when it comes to healty eating.
This year, though, I am trying again to engage the kids in the process of growing some of our own food in part to see if I can succeed and have succulent tomatoes, beets, green beans and lettuce, and in part to see if the children will be more interested in eating home-grown food. I have a raised bed garden frame built and this weekend I’ll add the garden soil and plants to start the process.
I hope my children end up being more enthusiastic about trying vegetables and fruits as a result. Data strongly suggest that children who have family kitchen gardens eat a broader range of healthy foods and starting a kitchen garden isn’t hard. Even if you only have room for a few containers, you can grow small amounts of just about anything. Get some chicken wire to keep the animals out, water regularly and offer lots of sun and soon enough you’ll be skipping the veggie area in the produce section and your children will very likely be eating better too.