This month's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop at Gardening Gone Wild is on Edibles in the Garden. While I am primarily a flower gardener, I do grow edibles in a dedicated vegetable plot, as well as in my mixed borders and containers. Given the size of my suburban lot, I cannot expect to grow enough to feed my family, but what I do grow is a lot of fun. Here are five tips for gardeners who want to attract those beneficials otherwise known as children.
1. Grow fruits and vegetables that you can pick and eat directly from the plant. What child can resist the instant gratification of eating sweet sugar snap peas straight from the vine? The children always eat the ripe cherry tomatoes off the vine before I can ever get to them. They also love the fresh figs off the tree that I grow in a container on my deck. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and the wild wineberries are other favorites.
3. Grow heirloom varieties that you can't buy in the grocery store. As you can tell by the name of my blog, Heirloom Gardener, I am particularly interested in plants that our grandparents and prior generations grew. While these varieties aren't typically available as seedlings at your local nursery, you can buy an almost infinite variety through online and offline catalogs and seed exchanges. The children find the variety and novelty of them quite interesting. Some of my children's favorites this season were the lemon cucumbers (they are about the size and color of a prickly lemon) and the German stripe tomatoes (mostly yellow with a spot of orange on one end).
4. Grow edibles with which they can play. In addition to using some of the above vegetables for playing store, the children have also found other ways to play with the edibles. For example, they love using the hollow stems of chives and lovage as drinking straws. Also, they have made up a drink with the fresh mint, which is made of crushed mint leaves, sugar, and sparkling water.
5. Grow flowers that are also edible. The children find it quite amusing that some flowers are edible. They particularly like including pansies, marigolds, calendula, and nasturtium flowers and leaves in our salads with mixed greens or as garnish.
- How to Build Raised Beds (on a Slope/Hill)
- Organically Preparing the Soil for Planting
- How to Make the Perfect Soil Mix for Seed Sowing
- Farmer's Almanac Spring Planting Schedule (May)
- Farmer's Almanac Spring Planting Schedule (April) and Heirloom Seed Sources
- How to Plant Corn the Way Squanto Taught the Pilgrims
- How to Plant Potatoes and Harvesting Asparagus
- My Eight Year Old Son's Great Potato Harvest
- Organic Beetle Control with Children
- Ten Tips for Planning a Children's Garden
- Creating the Children's Garden