The benefits of growing a kitchen garden, especially for kids, are bountiful. For starters, it gets them outside in the fresh air and sunshine, which helps their bodies produce Vitamin D, important for building strong bones and teeth and for protection against a variety of diseases including cancer and diabetes.
In a society that has become dependent on processed, packaged, factory-made foods, many families are consuming more calories but fewer nutrients. Kids may be much more enthusiastic about incorporating fresh produce into their diet when it is the fruit of their own labor.
And talk about a confidence boost! Nurturing a plant from seed to the table can be an empowering process for kids.
A kitchen garden can also inspire a love of learning. Kids are not containers that we simply pour information into; they are individual learners who gather and process information in unique ways. Through gardening, they will learn a variety of things, including the best soil and compost to use, the role of moisture in growing food, how to manage wildlife and insects, the needs of different hardiness zones, and what plants grow in which seasons in their area.
Simple steps to starting a kitchen garden
1. Start small: Research plants that grow well in your area. Find fruits or vegetables that your family will enjoy eating, and read about how to grow those foods.
2. Build a raised bed: Raised beds are great for beginners because you can more easily control the soil and prevent weeds. Beds can be of any length but not wider than four feet so you can reach into the middle without having to step on the bed.