Making an Organic Vegetable Garden with Children

How to make a vegetable patch with children so that they can grow and harvest their own food!

organic vegetable patch for children kids
I’ve been wanting to make an area for growing vegetables with the girls ever since we made our play garden last Spring.  Giving children an opportunity to plant, tend and harvest their own food helps them learn first hand where vegetables come from and how to care for living things. There is a school of thought that says children who grow their one fruit and vegetables are more willing to try out new tastes and flavours too, which is always a huge bonus with picky eaters!

Here’s what we did:
On the opposite side of the lawn to the play garden, my wonderful Dad and brother dug out a semi-circular patch from the grass and turned over the soil to loosen it up. We mixed in a whole bag of compost  enriched with natural nutrients and turned them over together to mix them.

 Next, the girls helped me to dig some little holes around the outside edge and we planted a border of box hedges. These will grow together to create a bushy, neat border if we keep them trimmed, and can even be shaped in a few years time! (Thanks to my wonderfully green-fingered friend Tineke for this lovely idea!)

 Then they helped dig some more holes and we planted some vegetable plants that we bought at the garden centre. We planted broad beans, runner beans, peas, gourds and wildflowers. They stuck some bamboo canes into the ground as future supports for the climbers and as they start to grow we will secure them.

Right next to this patch we have a nectarine tree and a Cox’s Orange Pippin apple tree, so those are being treated as part of the same area.

 Pop was very enthusiastic and managed to break one of the fragile plants, but she learned along the way and ended up being extremely careful after she realised what had happened. She patted the soil around the tops with a flattened hand and asked for “more, more!”

 Once in we set about giving hem a good drink of water. We have a hose pipe ban in the Southern UK at the moment, so we used the watering can instead. Great for problem solving and gross motor co-ordination!

 All planted and refreshed, waiting to start growing!

 We added some colourful pinwheels to help scare the birds away and also, just to look beautiful! Pop enjoyed blowing them to make them spin.

Next we made some plant markers to help us remember what we planted! These flowers and peas were drawn by Pop (2 years 2 months!) I adore them. Cakie wasn’t interested in making labels but it is a great way to promote mark making and giving meaningful opportunities for emergent writing in young children.

 I drew the other plants that we had planted, including some wild poppies, and we laminated all of the labels and stuck them onto green lolly sticks with tape.

 When they were done the girls them stuck them into the ground in the appropriate spots. They are watering their patch each day, taking it in turns to do each row, and patently waiting to see the first fruits of their labours!

If these are successful we will talk about what they want to grow next and try something new!

Have you made a garden with children? What did you plant?

If you’d like more ideas, Sun Hats and Wellie Boots has a wonderful post about tips for gardening with young kids. Well worth a look!

Learning Links:

  • knowledge and understanding of the world: growing plants, life cycles, what is needed to keep a plant alive, food comes from plants, edible and non-edible, seeds/roots/shoots/leaves/stem etc
  • literacy: use marks and letters to attribute meaning, understand what a label is for, recognise familiar words in the environment 
  • creativity: drawing from observation 
  • physical: gross motor skills and co-ordination through digging, watering, patting etc
Cakie: 3 years 7 months
Pop: 2 years 2 months
Bean: 14 weeks


  1. says

    Fabulous 😀 – We have a large vegetable garden but with 2 so young haven’t been doing much in it – I can see now that next summer I will be able to manage it as J and T will be similar ages to your two at that point. I’m pinning to my gardening with kids board

  2. says

    I love the plant markers – we painted some earlier in the year for our allotment veg. We’ve recently sown some wild flower seeds in our play garden and are checking (everyday!) if they have germinated-no signs yet but fingers crossed. Can’t wait to see your results – especially the gords, they are fab veg.

  3. says

    Our vegie patch has decided to hibernate for the winter but we did get lots of yummy vegies. Jack LOVED checking the vegies everyday and watering them. You’ve picked some good ones; they grow so quickly and you can pick the beans and peas right off the plant and eat them. Yum! When they get a bit bigger you can run some wire between the stakes for the beans to grab onto. But gourds??? Why gourds? Don’t tell me you actually eat them! 😀 I thought they were just for making funny faces 😀

  4. Anonymous says

    I thought your young gardeners would enjoy an gardening adventure, growing the TickleMe Plant (Mimosa pudica). Recently featured by the National Gardening Association,
    If you want to give your young gardeners an experience they will never forget, consider having them grow a TickleMe Plant. This is the plant that will close its leaves and lower its branches when you tickle it. They sprout in days and can be grown indoors any time of year. Just Google TickleMe Plants or go to for information seeds and growing kits. This plant has turned many kids into plant and nature lovers. I know, because I grow TickleMe Plants in my classroom.
    Happy Growing