Today I've got a final update on our food growing progress to share with you, but first I've put together a list of great reasons to grow food with your kids. There are so many benefits to growing your own food and getting the kids involved every step of the way, so I hope you'll consider giving it a go yourself. If you're already growing your own, do tell us all about it in the comments below, I'd love to hear about what you are growing too!
12 Brilliant Reasons to Grow Food with Kids
1. It gets them outside - In an age when the lure of technology is leading to ever more screen time, anything that gets kids outside in the fresh air has to be a good thing! Being outside is great for health and well being and we've found that once we've finished the actual gardening, the kids then want to stay outside longer to play too.
2.It's a cheap and easy activity - All you need are some seeds and a bit of dirt for a fun and rewarding activity that you can come back to again and again over weeks and months. If you don't have a garden, one bag of compost goes a very long way, filling cups and flower pots enough to grow food on every windowsill!
3. It can save money - Growing your own food can be a great way to save money, after all, every carrot that you grow is one less than you'll need to buy from the shops. If you don't have any garden space to grow vegetables, try growing herbs on your kitchen windowsill, it works out much cheaper than buying packs of fresh cut herbs.
4. It makes kids think about where their food comes from - These days you can buy pretty much every kind of food in a plastic packet from the supermarket and with the rise of convenience foods it's scary how so many of us have lost touch with where the food actually comes from. Growing your own food is a great way to educate kids about how fruit and vegetables grow and teach them to appreciate the effort that goes into it.
5. It teaches them responsibility - Even the easiest to grow plants need to be cared for and watered regularly, so give your kids responsibility for their own little set of seeds or plants and encourage them to take complete charge of them.
6. It teaches them patience - growing food takes time and patience, especially when you're growing from seeds. You'll need to wait for days and sometimes weeks for seeds to even start sprouting. Cress is great for younger children because it only takes a few days to get going but they'll still need to wait patiently for it to grow.
7. It builds confidence - there's a great sense of accomplishment to be found in growing your own plants from seed and when the whole family is able to eat the resulting harvest your kids will be bursting with pride!
8. It encourages them to eat healthy food - If you're going to all the effort of growing your food, you're much more likely to want to taste it once it's ready. Growing your own is a great way to get kids excited about eating fresh fruit and vegetables,
9. It tastes amazing - there's nothing like the taste of freshly picked food. It's full of flavour and it is at it's most nutritious immediately after being picked too.
10. It's eco friendly - think about how much packaging comes with your fresh fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, not to mention the carbon footprint from food that's been transported over long distances, often from abroad. Growing your own saves on packaging and air miles so it's great for the environment.
11. It's a great life skill - teaching your children how to grow their own food is a really useful skill that they'll never forget. It can help build healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
12. It's fun! - no explanation needed here - my kids have loved every minute of our Sow & Grow project!
As I mentioned above, this year we've been taking part in the Sow & Grow project and were sent everything we'd need to grow cress, runner beans and carrots (you can read about planting our seeds here and our first growing update here). We have really enjoyed taking part in the project and it's been the nudge we needed to get outside and start growing our own.
The cress was so easy to grow that we've grown and harvested several crops since the start of the project. The children have had fun experimenting with growing them in different containers including our Sow & Grow cups and egg shells - more to come on our egg shell cress men soon!
We haven't yet harvested our baby carrots, but they are absolutely flourishing on our kitchen window sill at the moment. We've also planted the spare carrot seeds out in the garden, so fingers crossed that they will be as successful too!
Unfortunately, despite a promising start, our original runner bean plants fell victim to slugs once we planted them out (sob!), but after a quick bit of research we planted another batch in the garden and surrounded them with coffee grounds as a slug deterrent. They're now flourishing, so we have high hopes for a successful harvest after all!
As well as our carrots, cress and runner beans, taking part in the project has inspired us to fill our garden with edible plants. We've set up a little herb garden on the patio with pots full of herbs, and the children are doing a great job keeping them watered and happy. We chose to plant herbs that we regularly use and we are already enjoying adding them to our meals, yum! The boys love that everything in the pots is edible and frequently stop to have a nibble and taste of the different herbs. It's great to see their interest and willingness to try new flavours.
We've also planted broad beans, beetroot lettuces and onions, and this week we'll be planting courgette, tomato, pepper and basil seeds in trays on our kitchen window sill. We're really excited to be planting and experimenting to see what works in our garden, and the boys are both still full of enthusiasm, it's lovely to see!
Is your school signed up to the sow and grow campaign? If so then upload your photos at https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions!
Following the repackage of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack. Available nationwide now in most major supermarkets. Good luck!
Disclosure: This blog post was commissioned by innocent in support of the Sow & Grow campaign. I was compensated for my time however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.