While most kids love to watch seeds sprout into plants, they usually lack patience when it comes to reaping the rewards of their gardening projects. If you plan to use vegetables that are both easy to grow and fast to produce, your kids will have a better chance of seeing their garden through to the point of harvest.
Leaf lettuce, spinach, cress and other salad greens are some of the earliest plants in the garden. Sprouting in the cool weather of spring, many greens can be harvested within a month of sprouting as they reach the height of 3 inches. Being able to eat something they planted just a few weeks ago will enable your kids to see the point of planting, and it may also persuade them that pulling weeds isn’t all that bad after all. Head lettuce takes longer to grow than the leaf varieties, and if you want to extend your salad days, plant more seeds every two weeks.
Peas and Beans
Peas are another early planting crop, popping through the soil and growing rapidly as soon as the ground can be worked. Although they grow rapidly, it will take a little more than three months before the pods are ready to pick and eat. Most varieties of peas require fencing for the plants to climb. On the other hand, beans not only sprout within days, they will be ready for the table in two months. Plant bush beans if you want neat rows or pole beans if you want tall, impressive plants. Again, plant a new crop every two weeks if you want to enjoy fresh beans all summer long.
Corn sprouts quickly, and kids love to see the stalks as they grow to tower over the child’s head. While the ears typically take 70 to 110 days to mature, depending on the variety, you can choose a few varieties to extend the growing season. As a bonus, your kids will have corn stalks when it comes time to decorate for Halloween. If you want to plant Indian corn, make sure it’s on the other side of the garden from your sweet corn or else the two will cross-pollinate.
Zucchini is grown in a mound or hill, germinates quickly and will be ready for the table in about two months. Because the zucchini itself grows so fast, your kids will be able to measure the growth each day and pick what’s ready every two to three days. Keep in mind that zucchini is prolific. If your kids plant more than one or two zucchini plants, you’ll have enough to supply the entire neighborhood.