I think it’s one of the truths of parenting that getting kids to eat their vegetables is a challenge. After receiving advice that getting your children involved in preparing dinner was one way to get them interested in trying their vegetables, I decided to take it one step further…

I got my boys to grow their own vegetables.

I’ve always wanted to make sure my boys knew how to cook and felt at home in a kitchen. So when I heard that getting them to help prepare dinner was a great way to get them interested in trying vegetables I thought this was perfect, especially for Connor whose stubborn streak definitely applies to eating any vegetable other than carrots.

Getting them started when they’re young enough that helping is a fun activity rather than a chore means I have two very eager sous chefs. In fact, because I can only handle having one mini-helper at a time, there are often tears from the one who misses out.

Last summer, I built a raised garden bed out of untreated Macrocarpa sleepers. I planted a few things but mostly forgot about it over winter. The one thing I did tend was my silverbeet. I found that one way to appease the child that wasn’t my designated helper for the evening, was to send them out to the garden with Daddy to pick silverbeet.

This had brilliant results! Suddenly my boys were talking about vegetables, how much they helped with dinner, and were willing to try this leafy green! And they love it!

Now that summer is here, I cleaned out all my weeds and plants gone to seed and decided to get my boys engaged in gardening. They decided which vegetables they wanted to grow – corn and more delicious silverbeet.

While we dug holes for the seedlings and gently placed our plants, we talked about how plants grow… how sunlight and water and nutrients in the soil all help make our plants healthy and happy. Dominic especially has an interest in all things STEM related so loved getting all this new knowledge.

They help water the plants every day and (more often than not) are the ones reminding me it’s watering time. They’re excited to see their little plants growing and ask when they’ll be ready to eat. They’re ready to plant more vegetables, but unfortunately my garden’s not big enough. It’s certainly the impetus I need to get started on the next raised bed.

I don’t have a love of gardening, myself, but I do love how enthusiastic my to little helpers are. If the results of the silverbeet are anything to go by, we’ll have two lovers of corn on the cob very soon!

I highly encourage you to get your kids involved in gardening. Even if you don’t have a vegetable garden, planting a few lettuce or silverbeet plants in and around your flowers is a great way to start getting the kids involved in where their food comes from and how precious nature’s gift to us is.