I just read a shocking fact. Fifty-nine percent of American children are either overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s such a huge number, I’ll let it sink in for a moment: three out of every five children in America is unhealthy.
Photo by Stitch
Now that you’ve had a chance to climb back on your chair, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Fern, that’s a shocking fact, but what in the world does that have to do with plants in pots on a balcony?” I’ll tell you what. I’ve been a camp counselor before, and babysat tons. I know how hard it is to get kids to eat anything remotely healthy. But I’ve also seen the pride kids take in a radish they grew from seed in a paper cup.
That last observation is the secret I think. Involve kids in healthy food growing (and buying). If you grow vegetables with your kids, they’re more likely to taste the fruits of their labor. Not having a huge garden is no excuse. A cherry tomato plant can be grown in a pot next to your front door. Same thing if you take them with you to the farmer’s market and they meet the farmer and can talk to him about how he grew the corn they selected for a BBQ later that afternoon. Get kids excited about and interested in fresh fruits and vegetables by making the process of obtaining them personal and fun.
When picking vegetables to grow with your kids, choose seeds that germinate quickly and opt for transplants for those vegetables that take longer to produce something edible. Get your kids involved in picking out what to grow and planning out your container garden. And set your kids up for success by chosing stuff that is easy to grow. If you’re new to vegetable gardening in containers, I highly recommend the book Bountiful Container.
Here are some articles that will help you get started:
- Vegetables and Herbs You Can Still Plant Before Winter
- Easy Fruits and Vegetables to Grow in Containers
- Create a Hanging Salad Bowl
- Tiny Tomato Plant Are Perfect for Balcony Gardeners
- Vegetable and Herb Companion Planting in Containers
- Dwarf Blueberry Varieties Good for Container Gardening
Edited to Add: Nancy blogged about a school gardening project that was a great success in getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.
If this article was useful to you, subscribe to my RSS feed and never miss a great small-space gardening tip!