Big Seeds to Start with Kids
Do you have a little gardener who wants to get his or her hands dirty? It’s never too soon to start training a green thumb, so we’ve compiled a shortlist of the best plant seeds for kids to grow.
You can grow these seeds in a garden bed, in a corner of the backyard, or in containers on a patio or balcony. Make sure the soil stays moist after you’ve planted the seeds and until they produce several leaves, and you and your small gardener will have a big harvest!
Calendula is first on our list because the shape of the seed is so unusual! Each seed is shaped like a ram’s horn and is fairly large, which makes them easy for little fingers to work with.
Plus, calendula is a very unfussy flower: easy to grow almost anywhere, it quickly develops from a tiny seed into a mound of bright flowers that are great for cutting, making tea, or adding to salads–the total package for introducing kids to gardening!
We love calendula, but it’s definitely not the only flower that’s good for children’s gardens. There are lots of fast growing flowers from seed that kids will love and have an easy time handling. You can check out these as well:
The seeds for squash are also large enough to be easily manipulated by children, and they also get going pretty easily once you seed them.
Make sure to seed these on their flat side or with the pointy end up–the round end of the seed is technically the bottom.
Zucchini are the classic summer squash, but you can also try patty pan squash–shaped like a UFO, with a buttery flavor–or a yellow squash–golden on the outside, tasty on the inside.
Bush beans are delicious fresh, produce most of the summer, and don’t take up as much space as pole beans.
They need full sun but don’t like the cold, so seed them after the last frost has passed in a sunny spot. These are some of the fastest growing seeds for kids.
Bush beans also come in a veritable rainbow of colors that are sure to delight kid gardeners:
- Blue Lake green bush beans – a classic for farms and home gardens alike
- Gold Rush golden wax beans – has a more mild flavor than green beans, and a bright color that doesn’t fade with cooking–great for salads, roasting, or pan-frying!
- Royal Burgundy bush beans – beautiful rich purple beans full of flavor as well as antioxidants
And if you want to try your hands at shelling beans, try the Cowpea–easy to grow and harvest, even in the hottest climates.
Sunflowers deserve their own spot on this list of plants to grow with kids because of their almost infinite variety plus their low-maintenance growth.
Most kids are probably already familiar with sunflower seeds as a snack, so growing the flower from which they are harvested also helps them realize connections between the food they see in the grocery store, and the farms and plants that they come from.
Our favorite sunflower varieties for kids are:
- Elves Blend – a combination of sunflower varieties, but all on the shorter side, perfect for shorter gardeners
- Teddy Bear Dwarf Sunflower – a short and shaggy sunflower that does indeed bring to mind the soft texture of a teddy bear
- Mongolian Giant Sunflower – a truly enormous sunflower, up to 18 inches across, that produces large, edible seeds in abundance
- Evening Sun Sunflowers – a deep orange-red hue makes these sunflowers really stand out
- Heirloom Beauties and Florist’s Sunny Bouquet collections – if your little gardener wants some of everything, these sunflower collections will bring lots of color and texture in one tiny package
Radishes are great for kids because they grow fast and easily, and they’re easy to harvest and even to prepare for eating.
Unlike other seeds on this list, they are also cold-tolerant, which means you and your little gardener can seed them first thing in the spring, and last thing in the winter.
- Easter Egg radishes – a mixture of colorful pastels, from pink to white to purple
- Watermelon radish – the plain white exterior of these radishes conceals a pink heart the same color as a ripe watermelon!
- Cherry Belle radish – has a vivid fuchsia skin and a mild flavor that’s great for picky eaters
Companion Planting With Kids
All of these seeds can live in a garden bed together, which means that you can also introduce your kids to the concept of companion planting! This is also super useful for growing lots of things together in a small garden planter or even a container.
Here’s a few combinations:
Calendula + sunflowers + bush beans
Squash + radishes (let the radishes grow in the cool shade of the squash leaves)
Bush beans + calendula + radishes