A Child’s Garden – Plant it, Grow it, Eat it!
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines are promoting consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you think about it, without fruits and vegetables, all other foods would be very bland in color. Adding vegetables and fruits not only add color, but important vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well. When you prepare a meal, think COLOR!
Children can be picky eaters (and many adults, too). When a child is involved in the purchasing and preparation of food, he or she is more likely to eat it. The same can be said for planting a garden. Here are some great ways to involve children in starting a garden:
1) Start with a small garden. Create a small garden in the yard, maybe a 4-foot by 4-foot garden spot. If you don’t have space in the yard, plant a garden in pots on your porch or patio!
2) Plant some easy vegetables. Plant peas, beans, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers or lettuce. Let your child do the planting.
3) Help your plants grow! Remove the weeds from around the plants. Let you child dig and rake the soil between the plants. Water the plants with tap water or rain water. Let your child catch rain water in small pails and pour it over the vegetables. Add grass clipping on top of the soil, around the plants. This will help keep the soil moist and warm for the plants.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to know how to grow vegetables to start a garden. You can learn with your child! Create a love of nature together. As a great “Spring gift”, give some child sized tools such as a rake, shovel, hoe and gloves – maybe even a toy wheel barrow or wagon.
Be creative. Encourage your child to decorate his garden with stepping stones, sticks, pinecones, and leaves, pretty stones or shells, or add a bird feeder or wind chime.
Your child might not remember everything in his early childhood, but gardening help to build self-esteem. Later in life, your child will feel confident that he can grow a garden, and that he can learn how to do other fun activities.
When the harvest is ready, let your child eat raw vegetables from the garden. Simply wash and eat! Children like crunchy vegetables – try cherry tomatoes, pea pods and cucumbers.
Most children do not like cooked spinach, but will eat spinach in a salad or sandwich. Chop spinach leaves and add to tacos, sandwiches or salads. Roll up deli turkey or ham in a spinach leaf or lettuce leaf. If you have peas or green beans, pop them in the microwave for a few minutes. Here’s a tasty salad that is full of nutrients and flavor:
2 cups fresh spinach or lettuce
2 cups fresh strawberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Low-fat Ranch dressing
1) Slice strawberries. Tear spinach into small pieces.
2) Toss spinach, strawberries and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl. Top with salad dressing.
3) Toss and serve. You can add raisins, mandarin oranges, chopped turkey or ham, hard-cooked eggs, shredded carrots, or use a mixture of salad greens. Enjoy!
Twogether in Texas – final reminder
Saturday, May 9th is the big day! The Twogether in Texas Marriage Education workshop is scheduled for 8:30 AM till 3:30 PM at the Hopkins County Office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 1200-B w. Houston Street, in Sulphur Springs (directly in front of the Civic Center). There is no cost for the workshop. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Engaged couples will receive a certificate to save $60 upon applying for a marriage license. Marriage Expectations, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Money Management, and Goals & Dreams will be covered in the workshop. Please call 903-885-3443 to reserve your spot. As of this writing, seven couples are signed up, so please help me spread the word!
If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Family & Consumer Sciences
1200-B W. Houston
Sulphur springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 – phone
903-439-4909 – Fax