The One About the Vegetable Garden

A young girl planting some strawberry plants...

photo courtesy: Sierraclub.org

We are embarking on a new experiment at my house this spring.  We are going to try our hand at a vegetable garden.  I have planted container tomatoes and herbs in pots before (most of which I have managed to kill) , but the raised bed vegetable garden is going to be a new adventure.

I love talking to kids about vegetables; it is usually the first thing I ask a child about what they eat.  I find that simply asking, “What vegetables do you like to eat?” helps me to gather a lot of information.  Some kids at 3 years old are readily able to spout off a list of a few vegetables while some elementary aged children struggle to name a single one.  Those who struggle to answer this question seem to fall into 2 categories: those who eat what is put in front of them, but don’t know which food groups things fall into and those who do not eat vegetables.

photo courtesy: livehealthyosu.comI applaud those with young children who readily spout off lists of vegetables that they like to eat!  Way to go!  Right now my daughter thinks that most solid food placed in front of her looks best on her bib, in her hair, or on the floor for the dogs, so we’ll see how we are doing in a few years…

What I do know is that kids learn to eat the foods they are regularly served.  Do not fret if your child turns up their nose at every naturally green thing that is placed in front of them (food coloring doesn’t count).  Just keep putting it there.  Eventually they will try it and come to like some of their vegetables.

The more involved kids are with the foods they eat, the more they are likely to enjoy them.  Let them pick a vegetable to try from the store or farmer’s market.  Even better, try growing a little something in a container or in the yard.  I hear such wonderful enthusiasm from kids with backyard gardens.  They enjoy tending as well as eating what they grow!  What a fun way to learn about where real food comes from!

I have far from a green thumb, but even I managed to reap the rewards of delicious container tomatoes.  I am excited to see what we are able to do with the vegetable garden this spring!  So far, the beans are sprouting…

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