Gardening with Kids: Growing Your Own Ingredients

Gardening with Kids: Growing Your Own Ingredients

Gardening with Kids: Growing Your Own Ingredients

Do you know how we got started? Have you read our story?

The recipes found in any one of Kekoa Foods pouches were actually made in our kitchen, for our son, long before the idea of turning his meals into a company.

But going back to the time before when our son was born, we always tried to eat well, most times eating a little heavier on the veggies at mealtime so we could have some cake or ice cream for dessert on the weekends.

David was also introduced to gardening at a young age and learned early on that nothing tastes as good, or as fresh, as vegetables and herbs you grew in your own garden! 

So, once we had more spaced for planting, David got to work cultivating a horticultural masterpiece in our backyard.  There we grow various herbs, several types of fruit, and lots of veggies. Each year, as spring approaches and the weather begins warming up, we love taking our son to the local nursery to buy seeds and start planning for what we’ll grow each year.

Our garden has grown a lot, and we’ve actually had to clear space in the house to bring the plants in from the outside when the fall and winter come, especially the tropical plants, like pineapple and plumeria. We haven’t counted, but simply eyeballing it we know that each year we’re buying more soil and planters to bring the plants in from the cold. It’s a bit crowded each winter, as Danny reminds David once or twice a winter season – but few things are better than having herbs like fresh basil, garlic, and rosemary in the kitchen year-round.

The ingredients found in meals we made for our son when he was a baby mostly came from what we planted in our backyard garden. And eventually, those ingredients and recipes became what you can find on store shelves across the country.

Even before the pandemic, gardening was an activity millions of people across the country actively enjoyed. Since COVID, however, gardening has only grown in popularity. But when it involves the whole family, it becomes something more. It can become a journey of learning, bonding, and growth—both for the plants and the children.

We encourage people to start growing food. It’s rewarding, healthy, and you might just find it’s a new experience to enjoy with your loved ones. Consider the following when starting your own garden:

Start Small

Gardening with children doesn't require a large space. Begin with something as simple as a windowsill or a small balcony. Start with easy-to-grow herbs like basil, mint, or chives. Watching these herbs sprout and flourish is exciting for kids and serves as the perfect introduction to the world of gardening.

Choose the Right Plants

Select plants that are not only easy to grow but also interesting for kids. Think of colorful cherry tomatoes, strawberries, or bell peppers. Let your children be part of the decision-making process. When they choose what to plant, they're more invested in caring for it.

Gardening teaches children responsibility as they learn to take care of their plants by watering, weeding, and monitoring their growth. It’s also a wonderful lesson in patience and delayed gratification, we found that the excitement of the first sprout, the first flower, and finally, the first harvest, is incomparable. Our son’s widened eyes as he ran over to the plants each morning to see how much they grew each day is an indelible, precious memory.

Nature’s Cycles

From planting seeds to harvesting, gardening is a hands-on way for children to learn about the life cycle of plants. It also opens up discussions about the importance of sunlight, water, and soil, as well as the air we breathe including oxygen and carbon dioxide offering practical lessons in biology and ecology.

The Joy of Harvesting and Cooking

There’s something incredibly fulfilling about eating what you’ve grown. Involve your kids in harvesting and then use these ingredients in your meals. It can be as simple as adding fresh basil to a pasta sauce or making a salad with home-grown lettuce.

It’s a Bonding Experience

Gardening together is about more than just the plants. It's a time to talk, share, and bond. For us, it is a time for storytelling, talking about our day, our week, what’s on our minds, and sharing experiences, while enjoying each other’s company in a peaceful, natural setting.

An Exercise in Creativity and Imagination

Gardening encourages people to be creative. Maybe painting the plant pots or designing a layout for the garden, buying the seeds, soil, and planters, be a wonderful outlet for you and your children’s artistic sides.

Gardening Indoors

No outdoor space? No problem. Indoor gardening can be equally fulfilling. Grow herbs in pots, or try hydroponic kits that allow you to grow vegetables indoors. This is also a great way to teach kids about different methods of cultivation.

The Environmental Impact

Gardening is a great way to educate children about their environmental impact. Discuss topics like composting, organic farming, and the importance of bees and other pollinators.

Celebrating Success and Learning from Failure

Unfortunately, not every plant will thrive – and that’s okay. Gardening is a great way to teach kids about dealing with disappointment and learning from failure. It’s a life lesson that they will carry with them always.