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Kid's Vegetable Garden

Updated on May 24, 2013

Kids' Vegetable Gardens

Vegetable gardening is not just for adults. Kids are naturally curious about the world around them and love watching plants grow and change. They get a lot of fun and satisfaction from planning, creating and keeping their own vegetable gardens. The bonus with a vegetable garden is that the children will be able to eat what they have grown. Growing food themselves may even encourage reluctant eaters to eat their greens or to try something new.

boy holding a bunch of carrots

© Copyright woodleywonderworks and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

Many children are spending too much time indoors in front of a screen - computer, television, or game machine. Introducing them to the fun and challenges of gardening is one way to get them outside and active.

Growing vegetables will require care, attention and patience, but you don't need a lot of space or equipment for your kids to grow their own. You can grow refreshing mint in a pot inside near a sunny window, or tomatoes in a hanging pot on your balcony. But if you have a larger space for a garden, let your imagination run wild. I have included a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

Planning a Kid's Vegetable Garden

the basics

which vegetables to grow

kids' vegetable garden themes

garden decorations

growing vegetables in pots

Planning a Kid's Vegetable Garden - the Basics

Planning a Kid's Vegetable Garden
Planning a Kid's Vegetable Garden

© Copyright Leeks 'N' Bounds and licensed for reuse under

this Creative Commons License.

The main things to keep in mind when planning your garden are the amount of sun the position gets, the distance from a water source, and ensuring that water does not pool in the area after rain. I like to make raised garden beds so I don't really mind what the condition of the soil is. No dig raised beds also make it easier to weed and water your garden. For small children, I would recommend not making the garden beds any wider than 2 feet, or 3 feet if you can get to both sides of the bed. The child should be able to reach the whole garden for planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting without treading in the garden bed. And make sure you make the paths wide enough for your child to wheel his wheelbarrow.

Children tend to be attracted to pretty gardens so don't be afraid to mix some flowers into your vegetable garden. Some flowers make excellent companion plants for your vegetables (eg marigolds and tomatoes) and they will attract the bees which are needed to fertilize your fruiting vegetables, such as tomatoes and pumpkins. And some plants, such as sunflowers, are grown for their seeds.

Your child will get the most out of his gardening experience if he is involved in the planning. He will have a lot of fun reading through the current catalogs choosing the vegetables he wants to try (with some guidance from you).

Which Vegetables to Grow?

which vegetable to grow in a kids' garden
which vegetable to grow in a kids' garden

© Copyright woodleywonderworks and licensed for reuse under

this Creative Commons License.

When children are just starting out to grow their own vegetables, it may be a good idea to plant vegetables which will mature quickly so that the children don't lose interest. This is particularly true for young children. The actual time taken for a vegetable to reach maturity will depend on your climate, soil condition and the variety of vegetable you are growing.

Quick maturing vegetables for children:

  • radishes
  • leaf lettuce
  • spinach
  • mustard
  • bok choy / pak choy
  • sugar snap peas
  • green onions
  • some varieties of beans
  • cucumber (pickling)
  • zucchini

Slow maturing vegetables to teach children patience:

  • carrots
  • peanuts
  • pumpkins
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • brown onions
  • broccoli
  • watermelon
  • celery
  • leeks
  • asparagus

Vegetables for shady areas:

If the only area you have for growing your vegetables does not get much sun (say 3-4 hours of sun per day), you could try growing green onions or leafy vegetables such as leaf lettuce, cress, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, and kale.

If your area gets 4-6 hours of sun a day, you could try growing beans, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, or peas.

If you get less sun or would like to try growing some different vegetables, you could always try growing indoors using a grow light.

Easy vegetables to grow

We want our children to have a positive experience when growing their own vegetables so please help me to make a list of the easiest vegetables to grow by voting for one that you think is virtually fool-proof.

Which is the easiest vegetable to grow?

See results

Some unusual vegetables to grow

Your child might be fascinated with these vegetables of different colors. He might turn his nose up at white cauliflower, but be eager to try orange cauliflower which looks like it has the cheese sauce grown inside. This year I grew some of the cute yellow pear mini tomatoes and they were prolific bearers and very easy to grow. I also grew some of the vegetable spaghetti / spaghetti squash. It is so much fun. After you cook it, you just scrape the flesh out with a fork and it looks just like spaghetti! It's also a bit tasteless just like spaghetti. ;-)

Would you or your children be game to try growing some of these different vegetables?

You gotta be kidding! It's hard enough to get them to eat regular veggies!

You gotta be kidding! It's hard enough to get them to eat regular veggies!

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    • norma-holt 5 years ago

      Probably not although they do like a challenge. They would not grow in our climate.

    Yeah. Why not? It just may encourage them to try something new.

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      • suepogson 4 years ago

        'My' children are my students and we're staring a garden in the new term. I have some of the seeds mentioned above but I'd love to get hold of some dragon fruit! I find children will devour colourful veg, especially the minature varieties.

      • rockingretro2 4 years ago

        I think that my grandchildren would really enjoy eating vegetables that they grew.

      • Mickie Goad 5 years ago

        I am always interested in new varieties of tomato.

      • Rural Farming 5 years ago

        We already do, i just harvested 12-14 cucumbers & a couple pounds of collards. They love helping out!

      • seedplanter 5 years ago

        My grandkids love gardening! Their dad created a vertical garden that is perfect for them, and keeps weeds & pests away.

      • sunny saib 5 years ago


      • biminibahamas 5 years ago

        I love the purple stuff!

      • lindashifferk 5 years ago


      • Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

        Absolutely! One way to get our kids to eat fresh vegetables is to let them grow their own. My daughter thinks the tomatoes and strawberries in 'her' garden taste the best!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Definitely, it's important for kids to know where food comes from so they can appreciate it more.

      • peggygallyot 5 years ago

        Yes I would certainly try them

      • microfarmproject 5 years ago

        My kids would love these! We already grow some rare tomatoes and spaghetti squash. I would like to try the miniature watermelon.

      • Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

        I might grow them, but I am focused on food that is not genetically modified.

      • jimbarnes lm 5 years ago

        my great grans spend time with me daily in our garden,and they love it.

      • ceejaycmarshall 5 years ago

        No children, but my preschool class loves gardening!

      • makeupyippy 5 years ago

        Grow them? Yes! Eat them? No.

      • alex89 lm 5 years ago

        I think its a great idea, my little cousin was fascinated when we first introduced him to beets (because of the color and the fact that they are sweet) I can imagine how he would react to some of these other ones :) Also I am a cook and a great advocator of trying anything new, so all of these things I think have great potential.

      • Marilyn Thompson 5 years ago from Washington State

        Tried the purple cauliflower once, tasted good but the color just didn't work for me.

      • SteveKaye 5 years ago

        Sure. This might be the answer.

      • Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

        I try to grow something different each year in my flower or vegetable garden. This was the first time I grew lettuce.

      • Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Absolutely...exploring is great! :)

      • Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

        I think it's not only fun to learn how to grow your own vegetables, it's a good way to get children to eat them as well.

      • Missmerfaery444 5 years ago

        Absolutely! We have a heritage seeds program here in the UK and I think it's great to encourage people to grow old, forgotten or unusual veggies!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        My children are now adults but enjoyed being part of the family garden as children.

      • MerandaJade 5 years ago

        Sure! We love to try new things!

      • Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

        Absolutely YES, I would love to grow some of these unusual vegetables.

      • KateHonebrink 5 years ago

        We really don't have an opportunity to grown veggies, but these different veggies certainly look interesting!

      kids' butterfly shaped garden
      kids' butterfly shaped garden

      Kids' Vegetable Garden Themes and Ideas

      Don't get bogged down with the "right" way to layout a vegetable garden. Straight rows of vegetables may appeal to you, but they will probably be quite boring for a child. You might like to consider some of the following themes or ideas.

      • special shaped garden eg a circle, a heart, a butterfly etc. The fun butterfly-shaped garden on the right contains tomatoes, radishes, lettuces, cucumbers, marigolds and nasturtiums.
      • butterfly garden plan created with
      • this online vegetable garden planning tool
      • .
      • pizza garden

      vegetable archway
      vegetable archway

      • bean or cucumber archway as the entrance into the garden.
      • tepee, cave, Sleeping Beauty's palace, or other hideout structures garden - use trellises or tent poles to create structures for vegetables like peas, beans, or squash plants to climb on.
      • sunflower house
      • © Copyright
      • Evelyn Simak
      • and licensed for reuse under this
      • Creative Commons License
      • .
      • alphabet vegetable garden
      • fairy garden - include some dainty flowers and some fairy statues, logs or rocks for them to sit on, or places for fairies to live.

      kids' hopscotch garden
      kids' hopscotch garden

      • hopscotch garden: The hopscotch garden plan on the right contains a path surrounded by herbs - thyme, mint, oregano, and feverfew - to produce a wonderful fragrance if they are jumped upon.
      • giant garden - plant giant vegetable varieties and some climbing bean plants for Jack to climb too
      • tomato tunnel
      • maze garden
      • dinosaur garden - add some dinosaur footprint stepping stones to the garden or hide some dinosaurs amongst the vegetables

      hopscotch garden plan created with this online vegetable garden planning tool.

      olympics in the garden
      olympics in the garden

      Olympics in the vegetable garden (Bill Boaden) / CC BY-SA 2.0

      More Kids' Vegetable Garden Decorations and Accessories

      • include a frog pond - using appropriate safety measures
      • include a sundial
      • include a birdbath
      • include decorations through the year eg hearts in February for Valentine's Day, pot of gold in March for St Patrick's Day. See holiday decorating year 'round for photos of lots more ideas
      • include a fountain

      Growing Vegetables in Pots

      Growing Vegetables in Pots
      Growing Vegetables in Pots

      © Copyright Chris Radcliff and licensed for reuse under

      this Creative Commons License.

      Don't despair if you don't have the space for a full-sized garden bed. If you have a a small courtyard or balcony, or even just a sunny window ledge, you will be able to test out your green thumb and be rewarded with something to eat. It is fun to use some unusual containers to plant your veggies in - a teapot, an old toy, a rainboot, an old milk container.

      Some vegetables which grow well in pots:

      • tomatoes
      • radishes
      • lettuce
      • Swiss chard
      • carrots
      • bush beans
      • herbs

      Planting Children's Vegetable Gardens

      planting seeds


      plants for free

      plant labels

      Planting Seeds
      Planting Seeds

      Planting Seeds

      It takes a little longer to grow vegetables from seed, because you have to allow time for the seed to germinate. But it is cheaper than buying seedlings and is more educational and more rewarding for the child to know that he has cared from his vegetable right from the beginning.

      You can plant seeds directly into the pot or ground where you want them to grow. You don't need special starter pots. But you can start seeds in seed-raising mix in small pots, or even recycled items such as egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, newspaper pots, plastic trays. The first three are biodegradable so you don't need to take the seedling out of the pot. Just plant the seedling, pot and all, into the soil.

      © Copyright traaf and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

      Benefits of planting seeds in a small pot before transplanting them to their final growing position:

      • you wont have empty space from seeds not coming up
      • you can transplant the strongest seedlings
      • easier to start in a greenhouse or indoors
      • easier to care for since they will be closer together
      • easier to protect against pests

      Disadvantages of growing seedlings in small pots before transplanting:

      • more work to transplant later
      • some plants, like carrots don't like their roots disturbed by transplanting

      starting vegetables for free
      starting vegetables for free

      Plants for Free (or Almost Free)

      You don't need to keep buying all your seeds once you started growing your own vegetables. Some plants will grow very easily from seeds that you collect yourself. But you can also use plants which you buy from the shop. Many of these will be hybrids which means that a seed may produce unexpected results. I must confess that I have only really tried and had good results with pumpkin and tomato. In fact these grow so well, I often get them growing from my compost. I have also grown peanuts (these need a long growing season) from raw (not roasted) peanuts.

      © Copyright holycalamity and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

      But you can grow vegetables from more than just seeds. Green onions and leeks will regrow if they have some roots and you leave some of the white on the bottom. You may have seen old potatoes growing little sprouts from their "eyes". Commercial growers only use tubers which are disease free, but in my own backyard garden, I use these sprouted potatoes, or even just a section of potato with the eye on it. Another vegetable which you may have seen sprouting is the sweet potato. This can also be grown from these sprouting sections.

      Labels and Markers for your Vegetables

      vegetable plant labels
      vegetable plant labels

      Photo credit: gonnafly (me)

      When you plant your seeds or seedlings, it is important to label them so that you don't forget what you have planted in each pot or spot in the ground. I usually use popsicle sticks and write the names of the vegetable (and the date on which I planted it) on it in pencil. But you can be more creative and paint rocks with pictures to use as labels or even paint the pot. A wooden clothes peg also makes a good label which can be clipped onto the side of the pot (see my labels above - I used permanent markers to decorate and write on the pegs).

      Paint your own vegetable labels on scraps of recycled wood






      Looking After your Vegetable Garden


      working in the garden

      watering the veggies

      pest control

      beneficial garden creatures

      Safety for Kids in the Garden

      There can be hazards for children in the garden which a responsible adult will be aware of and take precautions to keep out of reach of young children:

      1. garden tools with sharp points or blades
      2. garden chemicals (such as pesticides and weed control sprays)
      3. water features
      4. nasty critters that bite and sting
      5. power tools
      6. poisonous plants
      7. broken fences, walls etc

      Working in the Garden - Gardening Tools for Kids

      You will need to teach your child how to work safely in the garden. Garden gloves are essential, especially when weeding, to protect hands from any nasty critters or prickles which may be hiding in the garden bed. Kid-sized tools will also be the right size for preventing injury when digging, planting, spreading soil or mulch. Hand tools are very useful for finer control. If you have to choose between long-handled tools and hand tools, I would choose the hand tools because they will "fit" your child for more years. A child-sized wheelbarrow, though not essential, will help your child feel very important as they transport seedlings or bags of potting mix around the garden.

      Watering the Vegetables

      Watering the Vegetables
      Watering the Vegetables

      © Copyright jaygooby

      and licensed for reuse under the CC BY 2.0 License.

      Children will be motivated to water their vegetables if they have their own watering can. Choose a fun watering can which will not be too heavy for your child to hold when it is full of water.

      Pest Control In the Vegetable Garden - Recognize pests in the garden - click pictures to enlarge







      white cabbage butterfly eggs


      white cabbage butterfly


      fruit fly with evil red eyes!

      Getting Rid Of Garden Pests
      Getting Rid Of Garden Pests

      Get Rid Of Garden Pests

      Pest control can be fun for kids, although they may lose interest after a while. Here are some fun ways to deter those pesky critters.

      • Fill a water pistol (or squirt bottle) with biodegradable detergent and water and squirt those pesky pests right off the veggies.
      • Chase cabbage white butterflies with a net or badminton racket
      • Make a slug and snail trap from beer in a jar
      • Try companion planting
      • © Copyright
      • Michael Bentley
      • and licensed for reuse under this
      • Creative Commons License
      • .
      • Make a scarecrow to scare off the birds from eating your strawberries









      ladybug eating aphids









      praying mantis



      green lacewing

      green lacewing eggs





      curated content from Flickr

      (Creative commons suitable

      for commercial use Jun 2012)

      This page was created for the May 2012 Virtual Jenga Challenge.

      Many thanks to Lifeboost for the great challenge!


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        • MelloKnitty LM profile image

          MelloKnitty LM 4 years ago

          Thanks for a really lovely lens, I've included a link to you in my article about vegan easter ideas!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I really enjoyed your ideas here. Great job!

        • suepogson profile image

          suepogson 4 years ago

          This is the best lens EVER - Hey - I don't have to lesson plan my students' farm project because you just did it for me! Thanks!

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 4 years ago

          A new blessing on this lovely lens and may you have a wonderful, successful and happy 2013. Hugs

        • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

          GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

          I really enjoyed your article about kid's vegetable garden and I did pick up some good tips.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          awesome lens

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          CristianStan 5 years ago

          Teaching kids to start their own vegetable garden is something that a parent must consider so they would realize the importance of vegetables for our health, for our diet. I hope most kids will engage themselves in vegetable planting activity.

        • Mickie Gee profile image

          Mickie Goad 5 years ago

          Excellent ideas for teaching children about gardening.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thanks for the great lens. Lots of helpful information.

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          Annamadagan 5 years ago

          Great lens! We have a square foot garden with tomatoes, mint, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, and more. It isn't the fanciest, but the veggies are pretty yummy! Great lens...blessed by a Squid Angel!

        • Jimmy Gavin profile image

          Jimmy Gavin 5 years ago

          Great ideas, my grandkids are gonna love this

        • Rachel Field profile image

          Rachel Field 5 years ago

          Awesome lens, can't wait to grow veg with my little one :)

        • Rural Farming profile image

          Rural Farming 5 years ago

          This is a really great lens and very detailed, gets me motivated to create a new one today. Thanks!

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          seedplanter 5 years ago

          I read a quote recently about miracles and it said if you want to show a child a miracle, help them plant a garden. I agree! This is a wonderful lens - thanks so much for the time and effort you put into it.

        • eccles1 profile image

          eccles1 5 years ago

          What a nice lens I see why you won a purple star

        • randomthings lm profile image

          randomthings lm 5 years ago

          This is so clever. i LOVE the different layouts for a garden. It never occurred to me that one could deviate from the "normal" plant pattern. You could do a whole book out of this!!! Amazing.

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          sunny saib 5 years ago

          cool lens.. thanks for sharing .. :)

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          gradientcat 5 years ago

          My kids started some pumpkins inside, we have to find a spot to plant them outside now that it is warmer. Great lens.

        • biminibahamas profile image

          biminibahamas 5 years ago

          What a fun lens! I wish I had started growing veggies when I was a kid ... I have a lot of catching up to do.

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          sandi_x 5 years ago

          Nice lens. Kids need to be more in the nature.

        • fitnessjunkie8 profile image

          fitnessjunkie8 5 years ago

          Homeschool mom here and I love this lens!

        • CCTVwebmaster profile image

          CCTVwebmaster 5 years ago

          Great lens! Thank you!

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          DeepikaBhardwaj 5 years ago

          wow great ideas here. thanx

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          jessicahoward 5 years ago

          this lens is amazing and kids are going to love this idea of growing plants with their creative, growing and learning mind.....even its fun for them to make animals out of vegeatables...........thanks for sharing..

        • Anthony Altorenna profile image

          Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

          My grandfather gave me a small corner of his garden when I was young, and this experience led to a life-long interest in gardening. Thank you, Grand Pop!

        • moanaparker lm profile image

          moanaparker lm 5 years ago

          Pretty natural and lot of fun here....

        • moanaparker lm profile image

          moanaparker lm 5 years ago

          Pretty natural thing to do...

        • moanaparker lm profile image

          moanaparker lm 5 years ago

          Pretty natural thing to do...

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Awesome lens, I wish I lived in a climate where I could grow all this stuff.

        • peggygallyot profile image

          peggygallyot 5 years ago

          I am teaching my grandson to plant. He loves watering the trees.

        • microfarmproject profile image

          microfarmproject 5 years ago

          Fantastic lens! Great information and very well written. Time to get out in the garden with the kids...

        • Diana Wenzel profile image

          Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

          I love that you are encouraging the engagement of children in healthy activities. I'm hoping to get more schools involved in aquaponic gardening. There are so many powerful learning opportunities presented by immersing kids in eco-friendly projects. Congrats on your feature. Beautifully presented!

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          pawpaw911 5 years ago

          Great idea. My grandson who is 2, is already learning about our garden.

        • alex89 lm profile image

          alex89 lm 5 years ago

          great lens, unfortunately I live in an apartment so I am confined to pots, and I also seem to kill plants more easily that grow them, but I keep on trying! Hopefully some of your tips will help me (after all, if a child can do it, I should be able to!)

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          purpleslug 5 years ago

          Fun! Thanks!

        • VeseliDan profile image

          VeseliDan 5 years ago

          Childern usually enjoy gardening. You gave me a lot of great ideas about making toys out of vegetables. *blessed*

        • steph-naylor profile image

          steph-naylor 5 years ago

          Great Lens! Thanks ever so much! Im definitely going to recommend your Lens to my friends!

        • pcgamehardware profile image

          pcgamehardware 5 years ago

          Kid's will love this lens.. I know, I'm the biggest kid of all and I love it...

          Thanks for sharing... :)

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          SteveKaye 5 years ago

          That is so cool. Making toys out of vegetables. Thank you for publishing this wonderful lens.

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          Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

          You did a great job with this. What exactly was the challenge?

        • ajgodinho profile image

          Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          What an amazing lens and what a great way to get kids involved outdoors, teach them and have fun, all at the same time. Maybe this will get them to like veggies!

        • TonyPayne profile image

          Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

          Excellent work, I think you covered everything. It's always good for kids to learn something like gardening, and they might even enjoy their vegetables as well. Good Luck in the Jenga challenge.

        • Missmerfaery444 profile image

          Missmerfaery444 5 years ago

          Superb guide to a kids' vegetable garden! My toddler loves helping in the garden and is so proud of the flower we planted together. We've just started growing some seeds in pots (both herbs and flowers) and the veggie growing will probably begin in earnest next year!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Well you certainly left no garden soil unturned here and you know I was arrested and had to look at that garden tipi for a while. Great tips for all ages and good to get kids pointed in the right direction with gardening as fun to be had for a lifetime of delicious and nutritious eating. An excellent response to your Virtual Jenga challenge!

        • MerandaJade profile image

          MerandaJade 5 years ago

          Vegetable gardens are great activities for kids. It's great for teaching them responsibility, how to get a job done, and reaping the rewards of their efforts. Great lens!

        • CherylsArt profile image

          Cheryl Paton 5 years ago from West Virginia

          It's great to get kids engaged in growing vegetables. Great tips here!

        • Nanciajohnson profile image

          Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

          What a wonderful lens for us "kids" of any age! Well deserving of the trophy!

        • lesliesinclair profile image

          lesliesinclair 5 years ago

          You've carried out this super project superbly. Thanks for all the time you gave to the planning.

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 5 years ago

          Great lens and wonderful ideas and inspiration. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2. Hugs

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          ohcaroline 5 years ago

          Wonderfully educational even for us big kids!

        • TreasuresBrenda profile image

          Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

          We had a vegetable garden when the boys were young. They loved it.

        • Steph Tietjen profile image

          Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

          You've really thought of everything, scarecrows, labeling. A wonderful lens! Our little garden had giant zucchini, too and was edged with marigold and zinnias. Tomatoes were a hit. too.

        • ozylizzy profile image

          ozylizzy 5 years ago

          My children liked the challenge of growing the BIGGEST zucchini they could.

        • KateHonebrink profile image

          KateHonebrink 5 years ago

          As I grew up on a farm, we had a very large garden which provided a great deal of food during the growing season and what we didn't use, we preserved, canned and froze for use during the winter months. It was a lot of work, but we really ate well all the time!

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          mumsgather 5 years ago

          I love how you labelled your vegetables. We're currently growing spring onions and broccoli at home.

        • MartieG profile image

          MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

          Some great ideas to get the children interested in growing their own vegetables-nicely done ~blessed~

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          Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

          What a fabulous job you've done on this! I'm so glad you accepted my challenge - I knew you'd create a great lens, but this is even better than I expected! :)

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          SquidooLibris 5 years ago

          Lots of fun ideas for getting children interested in gardening.