Growing fruit and vegetables is a great activity for kids, encouraging them to eat more of them and learn where their food comes from. Here are some of the best resources to help you get started, from video tutorials to child-friendly books.
Whether you're looking for a new activity to keep them interested through the summer, or are keen to pique their interest in vegetables, growing produce with children is a great idea. Not only are kids often fascinated by the process where a tiny seed emerges from the ground as a plant, they are much more likely to be interested in the fruits of their labour.
Chef Lilly Higgins says it has changed the way her children approach their food. "My middle child is a really picky eater, but last year they were growing cress in school, and then he just became obsessed with cress. He wanted to grow it at home and he was eating cress sandwiches all the time. So I think a key thing would be for picky eaters is to start growing stuff themselves and then just to get them involved."
If you want to give it a go with your children, there are many excellent resources online. Here are some to get you started.
Growing cress with Jamie Oliver
It's a classic for a reason: quick-growing cress is a great beginner project for kids who have never grown anything before, and you don't even need soil to get started. This video from Jamie Oliver shows how easy the process is, and includes the all-important decorating of the pot. Your kids will be munching on egg and cress sandwiches in no time.
A kids' guide to starting a garden
In this video, 8 year old Samiah Rose shows us how to create a vegetable plot, from planting the seeds right through to harvesting her produce. Not only is her friendly commentary approachable for children, she proves that you're never too young to get growing.
Innocent Big Grow
If you want some help to get started, Innocent are giving away packs of seeds, compost discs and growing guides to families, all you have to do is sign up on their website to be in with a chance.
From video tutorials on how to grow individual vegetables to Growboxes with everything you need to get started, GIY is an excellent place to start for anyone growing their own produce, young or old. Their book GIY’s Know-it-Allmanac is a great way to get kids involved.
Written by Michael Kelly and Muireann Ní Chíobháin, and beautifully illustrated by Fatti Burke, it guides you month-by-month through growing and cooking food yourself. It's available in bookshops and through GIY's website.
A website dedicated to providing resources to help kids get growing, Kids Gardening is packed with ideas and tips to get you started. You can even sign up to a weekly newsletter for regular inspiration and garden activities.
Featured image: Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem
Read more: Lilly Higgins: 'The best thing for picky eaters is for them to start growing stuff themselves'
Read more: 'I am privileged to walk freely in white skin but my children are not': raising children of colour in Ireland
Read more: Nectar cafe: These are the best bee-friendly flowers to plant right now