Edible Gardens For All Seasons: Early Childhood Style
Digging and growing. Munching and crunching. Sniffing crushed herbs to improve brain power. Gardens are a multi-sensory adventure playground for children.
Gardens make amazing early learning spaces. You can teach and learn with children as you all grow.
- plant life cycles
- healthy eating
- water conservation
- composting/worm farms
- caring for our environment/food miles
- measurement (think sunflowers!)
Take your art activities and language exposure outside while gardening. Plus the sensory experiences of planting, watering, growing, weeding and tasting are unparalleled.
EDIBLE SCHOOL GARDENS
Many countries now have edible garden programs started in schools by chefs. Check out how these chefs make key connections between growing and eating to educate children about health and nutrition...see what's happening where you live!
Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation (Australia) &
Garden to Table in School Programme (New Zealand)
Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Garden Project (Britain)
GET GROWING - NO EXCUSES!!!
The thing is – there are as many (or more) reasons to have a garden as there are excuses for not having one.
We don’t have space to have an edible garden.
Grow in pots, on the verge, plant a vertical garden. The space doesn’t have to be large to be productive.
Our climate is too cold/hot/rainy/dry to have an edible garden.
Choose plants that grow in your area (contact a local garden shop – or ask community members to contribute from their gardens – if they grow for them, they’ll probably grow for you! Plant for now and for later. Choose some perennial and some seasonal plants.
There’s no one here who’s a professional gardener.
Trust us on this. If you think you've got a brown thumb grow herbs. Even if you grow nothing else – herbs like thyme, rosemary, chives, mint and lemon balm thrive in places no other plants will grow. Plus if they’re in pots they can be brought inside for winter – have a herb corner!
“Failure” is all part of growing – just as it is an essential part of learning. Call it experimentation and try all kinds of plants and seeds to see what works best in your garden. Sometimes the most unlikely plant will thrive while virtually guaranteed successes (think sunflowers and snow peas) may wither away and die…but that’s ok
GET YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVED
You will find avid gardeners in your community to donate time and expertise to help with an edible garden if they know about it. Put a notice on your Educa dashboard or ask at your local garden shop (some larger shops may even donate plants that need some TLC). Ask around to see if there is a seed savers in your local area
WHERE AND WHEN TO PLANT
We’ve selected this range of guides for you – to make it easy for you to know when and what to plant in your area. Bookmark these and you can keep referring to them as your garden grows!
Kitchen Garden Planting Guide (select your region AU/CAN/NZ/SA/UK/USA)
We’ve also put together a new EDUCA PINTEREST board
EDIBLE GARDENS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD – so let’s collaborate.
Add your links in the comments and we’ll add you to the board.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
8 Fun Flowers to Plant with Kids for Your Garden and Table – Edible flowers
Gardening for Children – Lists a range of learning outcomes
Eartheasy – Solutions for Sustainable Living – Top 10 Crops for Children & Tips for Gardening