Creating a vegetable garden with grandchildren

30 June 2015

Find out how to create a small 'growing lunchbox' to encourage children to grow their own.

Children are often more tempted to eat fruit and vegetables if they have had a hand in the growing and harvesting process. You don't need a huge garden or allotment either, in a space just 1m by 1m, you can make a 'growing lunch box', which provides enough for a lunchbox full of tasty treats, all of which can be picked fresh and eaten without cooking.

You can make the 1m by 1m box to edge your plot with treated timber, using planks that are 6" wide and 1" thick held in each corner with a stake. Or you can buy a plastic raised bed kit from most garden centres and DIY stores.

Mix in some organic matter, such as manure, with top soil or compost. It's good to have rich soil for growing vegetables, ideally have it level with the top of the bed so access is easy for children.

What to include in a vegetable patch for children

The choice is yours as to what you want to plant, ideally go for dwarf varieties as you are working in such a small space, and fast growing crops such as lettuce are often more appealing to small children, who want to see the fruits of their labour as soon as possible.

You can make life easier for yourself by starting some things off in pots then transferring them to the lunch box, or in the case of tomatoes and strawberries you could buy small established plants from a garden centre and put them straight in.

Feeling inspired? Why not plant up a lunch box with your grandchildren now.

Try the following, which with a bit of luck could be ready to harvest in the autumn school term.

  • Salad leaves - ready mixed seed packets are an easy option. Or try fast-growing rocket. Both should be ready in a matter of weeks.
  • Radish - quick growing crunch, popular with kids. Ready in a month or so.
  • Carrots- if planted now fast growing early varieties like Early Nantes or Parmex should be ready to eat in autumn.
  • Beetroot - they come in all shapes, sizes and colour - including gold, white and striped! Grow them to golf ball size- easy for little fingers.

Visit our fruit and vegetable section for great growing guides to get you started.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.