Using garden themes to get kids gardening

As gardening season approaches, theme gardens are an easy way to get kids gardening while learning about plant science and how to grow and cook food.

Theme gardens are an easy way to get kids in the dirt and gardening. With the right encouragement and a few supplies, kids can learn about plant science, grow and cook some good food and, best of all, have fun. This puts a new spin on “eating locally” when the food is produced, prepared and served all within 50 feet. When kids get involved, it’s even better.

I have had the book “Dinner from Dirt” by Emily Scott, Catherine Duffy and Denise Kirby on my shelf and in my bag of “books for kids” for years, and I have talked about theme gardening for children at hundreds of workshops. One person in my house likes to garden even more than me. She likes to cook and even serve dinner. She’s also a kid. So, as we started our seeds and were anxiously awaiting the first signs of life to sprout up, we thumbed through the pages of “Dinner from Dirt.” As we explored the book together, studying the planting guides and recipes, a new fascination for the book came alive and so did plans for just a few more theme gardens.

In the book, there are 10 dinners kids can grow, cook and serve by themselves. The recipes use fresh ingredients grown in the garden. Kids can learn to grow and cook foods that are less expensive than purchasing pre-made foods, are tasty and have high nutritional value. One of the most important things I think kids can learn from a book like “Dinner from Dirt” is knowing where our food comes from and the importance of being able to grow and prepare food for your family and friends no matter where you live. Inspiring kids to learn new skills as well as appreciating the land and taking care of our natural resources are lessons that will last a life time.

Dinner From Dirt book cover“Dinner from Dirt” encourages young and new gardeners to start small; long garden rows are not required. Some of the gardens recommended are salsa, pizza, sandwich and hamburger gardens. These are all food kids love and will love even more when they grow their own.

Another great feature is these gardens do not have to take a lot of space. Many of the recommended gardens can be container gardens grown on patios and balconies. These gardens can be incorporated into existing landscape beds or borders next to the house. This is great for kids who do not have much room to garden, but also helps keep the garden manageable and successful. Spending hours weeding is not much fun, but having an attractive, productive garden is fun. Cooking great food from your own garden is even better.

The recipes are easy to follow, added ingredients are found commonly in most kitchens and the food is tasty. Young children may need some help, but I recommend letting older children do as much as possible by themselves. I know my kids love to cook and serve dinner on our back deck. They like to take my order, serve and even clean up. I like to eat great food, enjoy my garden and relax.

I would highly recommend “Dinner from Dirt” as a way to inspire little ones to try their hand at gardening or providing your young gardener with new inspirations. You can visit your local library to see if the book is available. Happy reading and gardening!

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