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The Best Plants to Use for Teaching Kids to Garden

My 3 year old kept asking for a garden. In theory gardening with the little guy sounded like a brilliant idea. I'm sure that thousands of Montessori teachers and early childhood experts would approve. Embedded in my subconscious was information about tactile learning and how this would provide my kid with a fabulous foundation for his intellectual development. Also embedded in there, however was the fact that I was intimidated. As much as I've always loved gardeners (particularly when they share their harvest with me). It always felt like something that other people do. People with some kind of supernatural way of communicating with plant life and intuiting their needs.

But parenthood makes you brave in new ways. And so I tried to tap into random elementary school memories of filling dirt in egg cartons and taping sandwich bags filled with pinto beans and soggy paper towels to window sills. So now were six months in and I'm proud to say, we're gardening!

So for the other intimidated moms out there I want to throw my newfound knowledge into the cyberspace. Through trial and error, these are the plants that we have found to be the easiest and best for kids to grow:


Pantry Items

1. Lettuce

2. Garlic

3. Potatoes

4. Pinto Beans


You don't even need to go out and buy seeds to teach your kids about gardening! I used to be squeamish about seeing new growth peaking out of garlic cloves and potatoes. I actually ended up putting the peeled garlic cloves right into their own garden bed. I also took an old potato with eyes poking out of it and cut it up as a seed potato. A few months later and potatoes are some of the most beautiful plants in my garden. In the same vein, I learned on Pinterest about regrowing lettuce. So I've started planting the lettuce stumps directly in the garden and low and behold! They keep growing!
Finally the Pinto beans can be planted in an egg carton with some soil from your garden and placed in a sunny area. Low and behold! They sprout! Which brings me to our next category:

Low Maintenance Sprouters

5. Peas

6. Radishes


Kids are still learning delayed gratification. So plants that don't take long to start showing sprouts are definitely winners. Radishes are great because they take such little time to go from seed to harvest and the kids can start seeing the leaves peaking out early! Plus they look like the Vegimals from Octonauts. so there's that. Likewise peas sprout a bit early and whats great about the seeds is how large they are. so they are easy for kids to plant.

Hearty Herbs

7. Basil

8. Mint

Give me a plant that is tough to kill as a starter! When I first bought this house a friend gave me a basil plant that I stuck in my planter and kept forgetting to water. That plant stuck around for quite a while through thick and thin. My little guy was excited when I told him that basil was used on pizza. I've even encouraged him to pick some leaves and add it to the frozen pizza before we put it in the oven!


Did you know that some consider mint to be a weed? It sends out runners and takes over. Which is why many gardeners actually recommend it for containers and planters. They are also difficult to over-prune which is perfect for curious hands. My little guy loves to pluck leaves and crush and smell them in his hands


So there you go!

I would love to hear your plant recommendations or stories of gardening with your kids.


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