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April 10th, 2012

A Child’s Garden of Learning

My granddaughter will be 4 this year. I am an avid vegetable gardener, and I want to share that passion with her. What’s the easiest vegetable for a child to grow?

blog-dougStart with radishes. The seeds germinate and grow quickly; they’re ready to eat in 30 days. On the chance she isn’t a radish fan, let her plant seeds of a few other vegetables that you know she likes to eat, like bush beans or leaf lettuce or snow peas.

Don’t forget to plant some flowers, too. Giant sunflowers are a kid favorite. When I was that age, I was intrigued by the exploding seed capsules of garden balsam. Zinnias and cosmos are great for bouquets and easy to grow from seed.

Books on gardening with children often stress the importance of choosing crops and flowers with big seeds, on the theory that they are easier for small fingers to grasp. But in my experience, kids do just fine with the tiny-seeded stuff, like lettuce and carrots. Seeds are cheap; let her learn by planting. Make your shared garden time informal and fun.

Your granddaughter is at an age when the world is filled with amazing discoveries. She’ll always remember the lessons about nature and life that she learns at your side.  —Doug Hall

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