Start a summer garden with your kids

Expert says certain plants are especially 'kid-friendly'


CLEVELAND – Want your children to eat their vegetables, spend more time outside and maybe learn something this summer?  Try gardening with your kids.

Tara Harwood is a pediatric registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic.  She says the best way to introduce your child to gardening is by allowing them to choose what they'd like to plant.

"They can pick out seeds of fruits or vegetables that they actually like to eat or seeds of fruits and vegetables that look interesting to them," said Harwood.  "That way they can watch them grow and develop, they may not like that fruit and vegetable, but after they see it grow and develop and it looks so cool, they may be more willing to try it."

Some kid-friendly options to plant are strawberries, green beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and herbs.

"Easiest plant to grow would be a lot of the herbs: basil, thyme, cilantro. You can't go wrong with herbs, they grow like wild weeds, so start with herbs," said Harwood.  "Also, tomato plants grow and they're brightly colored and the kids can pick them right off the vine."

Harwood said to allow your child to take part in the whole process -- digging holes in the dirt, planting the seeds, watering, weeding and eventually picking the fruits or vegetables.

Children may also enjoy making signs to mark the rows or colored rocks to decorate the area.

If space is limited, consider growing a small herb garden in pots.

To learn more about gardening with your kids, click here and here.