Spring arrived early for us this year, yet Mother Nature provided cool days and frosty nights in the month of April. May is planting season. Are you considering planting a garden? If you are, have the children help with the process. If not, perhaps you can plant a small pot indoors for them to watch grow through the weeks.
Showing children the art of planting teaches them how to nurture and take care of something (a plant) as well as where food comes from. Research shows that kids are more likely to try new foods (i.e. vegetables), and be more interested in the food they are served if they helped grow it in the garden. Children can assist with the decision of which crops to grow. If they want to grow pizza, consider planting tomatoes, onions, peppers, oregano, and basil!
If you did not get ahead on the planting season, it’s not too late to plant the late April seeds, such as: beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, onion set, seed potatoes, radishes, and spinach. Seeds to plant in May include: green beans, early corn, and pumpkins.
In Wisconsin, some of the crops that are in season include rhubarb and asparagus:
Rhubarb –The stalk is very tart; Deep red stalks are sweeter and richer; Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C; Mix into muffins, pancakes, or coffee cake for added tart.
Asparagus –Asparagus is a good source of vitamins A and C, and folate; Add to stir fries, egg bakes, or simply roast the stalks in the oven or on the grill.
Tips for Starting an Indoor Garden with Children
- Use clean containers. Egg carton compartments, small milk cartons, and yogurt cups work well.
- Label containers so you know what is in each one. Allow kids to design and decorate labels for the seedlings.
- Follow directions listed on the seed packet.
- Use the eraser end of a pencil to push seeds into the soil.
- Plant the largest seeds from the seed packet to get the best germination rate.
- Cover containers with plastic, and prick holes with a toothpick for ventilation. When seedlings appear, remove plastic and move containers into bright light.