Growing your own food at home is a cost-effective and fun way to make sure your family is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to involve and educate young children on how food is grown – research shows that those who help with gardening are more likely to try (and actually eat) healthier foods.
Home gardens don’t require much space, but they do need plenty of sunlight and water. It’s best to start small and add more plants each season if you choose. Container gardening is a great way to get started – even if you don’t have a yard, you may have a patio space that gets plenty of sun that would be ideal for growing a few plants.
When starting a garden, you can either purchase the seeds or buy starter plants. The latter is often the way to go for first-time gardeners. Plus, you’ll see the fruits of your labor much faster as opposed to waiting a few extra weeks during the germination stage, which can be hard for impatient little ones!
Here are 12 easy foods to choose from to ensure gardening success, plus some family-friendly recipes to help you use your fresh bounty:
- Herbs: Fresh basil, thyme and rosemary are used in a wide variety of recipes, though any fresh herb is a great addition to many dishes!
- Try this recipe: Tomato Basil Bread Salad
- Tomatoes: There are so many tomato varieties to choose from, but starting with sweet grape tomatoes may be more palatable for small children.
- Try this recipe: Oven Dried Grape Tomatoes
- Cucumbers: These are easy to grow, and the vine will climb a post if you plant it alongside one.
- Try this recipe: Strawberry Cucumber Arugula Salad
- Peppers: There are many different types of peppers to grow, from sweet bell peppers to mellow banana peppers and spicy chili peppers. You can’t go wrong!
- Try this recipe: Seared Halibut with Bell Pepper Relish
- Sugar Snap Peas: This is another kid-friendly vegetable that is fun to grow. Note: this plant requires something for the plant to climb as it grows.
- Try this recipe: Sesame-Roasted Sugar Snap Peas
- Blueberries: If you plant at least three different varieties, they’ll cross pollinate and ripen at different times to extend your picking season. Plus, they are easy to freeze and enjoy year-round.
- Try this recipe: Strawberry and Blueberry Kale Power Salad
- Lettuce Greens: There are many different varieties to choose from! These greens grow in the spring and fall and making it super easy to eat your daily leafy greens.
- Try this recipe: Garden Green Salad with Radishes
- Carrots: Another cool-weather crop that’s perfect for early spring or late fall in most locations.
- Try this recipe: Honey Glazed Carrots
- Potatoes: This is a fun way for children to really dig in the dirt to find the fruits of their labor, and they grow really well in containers.
- Try this recipe: Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Summer Squash: Both zucchini and yellow squash are easy to grow and the plants are bountiful.
- Try this recipe: Summer Vegetable Pasta
Looking for more family-friendly recipes and tips? Find easy meals and helpful resources here.