Gardening with a toddler: easy & fun vegetables to grow!
hello friends! Today I want to chat about easy and be fun things to grow with a toddler. This summer Mary & I got into gardening big time and I want to share our top pick for super fun and easy things to grow – even for newbie gardeners! Trust me, I couldn’t even keep a hydrangea or a cacti. These are all super easy and fun to grow, I promise!
How do I entertain my 2 year old in the garden?
- Water plants with them
- fill pots with compost together
- pick mint leaves and smell them
- pick soft fruit to snack on
- put them in a wheelbarrow and push them around
- play songs as you potter around
- give them a watering can and containers to play with water in
- make a fairy garden
- give them chalks to draw on flagstones with
- paint rocks
- make a nature table
- scatter wild flower seeds together
- Later in the year, harvest poppy and hollyhock seeds to scatter in the spring together
is gardening good for toddlers?
Yes! Gardening is great for toddlers, it gets them outside, learning about food and growing food. It also encourages them to try new foods as they grew them and it gives them a sense of achievement. You can also spend time listening to music and playing in soil and mud, as well as smelling herbs and flowers.
courgettes are fantastic! They are easy to grow from seed and they produce SO much to eat! All you need is:
- Seeds (go for classic green courgettes, not fancy ones!)
- a grow bag or raised bed to plant it in
- a watering can
- vegetable feed
Either start the seed off indoors and transplant it into the ground later, or sow direct. They take a lot of space but they are so fun to grow! Once they start producing courgettes try and feed them every week and water them at the roots, not onto the leaves. Easy!! At the end of the summer, pop the plant in the compost heap as it doesn’t come back next year.
oh rhubarb is lovely to grow! It looks lovely and it’s really fun as it’s so prolific! Just buy a crown in spring (it will cost around £3/4) and pop it in the ground. I personally have mine in flower beds as the leaves look lovely. Or you can pop in a vegetable patch. It’s pretty self sufficient, just pull the stalks when they are fully grown and wash, chop and stew for crumble!
- a rhubarb crown
- ground (you can grow in pots but they really need to be in the ground to spread)
They come back every year and are really hardy. Just don’t over-pick the stalks and be carful to dispose of the leaves as they can be poisonous. Obviously poisonous leaves aren’t great for gardening with a toddler, but they are really self sufficient so you don’t have to ‘tend’ to them and in my experience toddlers love stewed rhubarb with yogurt or in a crumble.
I’m all about the radishes! They are super versatile and actually pretty nice when home grown! Just pop a seed in the grown and about 4 – 6 weeks later you have a radish! You can slice them and put them in salads, pickle them, add them to stir-fry’s and roast them whole.
- a grow bag / raised bed / flower bed
You can also use the leaves like you would spinach leaves (cooked or in salads). You get a lot of bang for your buck with radishes!
Radishes are a root vege so you get one radish per seed, keep planting more every week to get a continuous harvest!
carrots are also fun to grow, they are very similar to grow to radishes, they just take more time! Again, got for standard orange carrots rather than fancy coloured carrots!
if you have enough space for an apple tree, I can’t recommend it enough! Go for a Bramley apple tree as they are wonderful cookers for pies and crumbles. One tree gives you so many apples and you can purée them and freeze them for crumbles all year long! Also, you can prune your tree to keep it small and neat so it doesn’t take up too much space!
Apple trees produce fruit for decades so if you have the space, they are a great investment, just make sure they are pruned once in a while to stop them getting too tall. Apple trees generally cost around £20-30 and they might take a couple of years to produce fruit.
blackberries & blueberries
ok! So I know you can pick blackberries in the woods, but it’s nice to have your own crop at home and they tend to be bigger and more flavoursome when they aren’t wild! They are perfect if you have a walled garden as you can train them up the wall and they look lovely! Plus wild blackberries are thorny, where as the ones you buy from the garden centre are generally thornless varieties, which is much better for gardening with a toddler. However, if you are limited to space and only growing in pots, I would say to go for blueberries over blackberries.
- a plant (or a few plants if you are growing raspberries, blueberries or strawberries)
- flower bed or raised bed
Blueberries are fun, Mary loved growing them, the only downside is that you need to buy a couple of plants as they need each other to pollinate. So it’s a little more to get started, but they are lovely for children to scrump! Raspberries are also fun, but you need quite a few raspberry plants to get a good crop and they can be thorny. Gooseberries are fun, but also very spiky for little fingers. As for strawberries are a delicious, but little annoying as they can be hard to spot under the leaves. I missed out on a lot of strawberries as the slugs got to them before me!
All these soft fruits mention come back year after year.
Finally, a humble mint plant is lovely to grow with a toddler. I got my tiny mint plants for £1.50 each and they spread like wildfire in the pot! Mary loves to pick it, smell it and eat it, plus we add leaves to salads, make tea with it and cook with it. It grows super fast and it’s a fun sensory plant with a toddler.
- a small plant
- a pot (you can put in a flower bed but they can spread, so pots help keep them contained)
Ta da! And there we have it! Gardening with a toddler : great vegetable to grow with children! And admittedly there were some fruits and herbs in here too!