Fall is upon us and some of us think gardens are only for spring and summer. That is not true however! There are many options for veggie plants that thrive in cooler temperatures. You still have time to put in a fall garden, depending on where you live. If you are a preschool teacher, you may find that this is an activity that will take up many hours. The children will love it, and there’s much to be learned! Here are a few tips to make your edible garden a successful venture.

Do your homework, and know what you are doing

Some plants will only grow in spring, but they may have a variety in the same family that will grow in the fall. Take the time to know what you are going to plant, and when the harvest should be expected. You do not want some of the kid’s plants to mature before the others. You will want to have a harvest feast and let all the kids partake in the bounty of the harvest.

A great resource for seeds and advise is www.myseedneeds.com,  They can help you with your selection.

TIP: Grow vegetables that can be eaten raw or with dip. Kids think it’s cool to eat straight from the garden! 

Buy plenty of seeds

Allow the children to have a choice in what they plant. Buy a few extra packages in case there is a problem with the seeds you have available. Another reason to buy extra seeds is that you are dealing with toddlers. They may put 287 seeds in one hole and none in the next one. They may drop the seeds. You may even see a few tomato plants or squash plants popping up in the yard from a dropped seed that adapted.

Prepare the garden

Make sure you prepare the garden site so that the children have soft, workable soil to use. Explain the entire process before you begin to plant. It is a good idea to give each child their own watering can for watering time. When they have planted their seed, staple or tape the seed package to a stick and write their name on it. Then have them mark the plants that they planted.

Tip: Add wildflowers

Plant a few flowers around the edges of the garden. The flowers will draw bumble bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and other insects that will feast on the flowers. Some will pollinate the garden. A few flowers will make a big difference in your harvest.

Tip: Be patient and understanding

These are toddlers. They will pick the tiny green tomato because they are excited to see growth in their garden. They will over or under water plants. Get seeds that will survive toddler tender loving care.

Other Helpful Hints for Edible Gardens

  • Once you have your garden laid out, place a row of bark between the lines. This is give the children a place to walk without stepping on the seedlings.
  • When applying compost to the garden, the smell may put some children off. Others will not mind. That is okay.
  • Do not plant vegetables that most adults wouldn’t alone or with dip. Onions, radishes, and hot peppers come to mind as ones that children wouldn’t readily love.
  • Toddlers are not good at waiting. You may have some cranky kinds when it rains on garden day. To keep them busy, let the children grow an indoor herb garden. They can be grown in anything as long as has drainage holes.
  • Let them decorate their pots.
  • Let them measure the growth of the plants. 

Author Bio: Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

Photo Credit: Mojitos and MunchkinsJelleke VanooteghemAnna PelzerKyle Ellefson