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Gardening for kids is really a ton of fun and such a great learning experience. This is why learning how to plant a kids vegetable garden should definitely be on your list! If you’re reading to learn how to make a mini vegetable garden that will give the kids a space of their very own, this is literally the perfect starting point for you!
One of the hardest parts about starting a vegetable garden for your kids (or anyone) is figuring out what to plant. It’s definitely something you want to thin through though so that you pick the right equipment and spot – and so that you plant something that the kids are actually going to want to eat. You don’t have to waste a ton of time figuring out which vegetables are easiest to grow with kids but it is an important one to think about to get a good plan of action.
In our house, I knew exactly what to plant for children’s garden and this just so happened to be potatoes. We could literally live off potatoes if we needed or wanted to (I do!) so this was a no-brainer for our house.
If you want to plan something substantial, that the kids can really watch go through different phases of growth and ultimately eat and enjoy – I highly recommend starting with potatoes! They will learn so much and are sure to find it fascinating!
Make certain that you have fun during this process of trying to decide what to plan. It’s a great learning experience – they can learn about growing zones,, type of soil, space to plant, and all the other important items that kids growing vegetables need to know.
This is a fun way to teach the kids how to start a garden and show them that the food that they eat doesn’t just “show up” at the store! They will develop such an appreciation for their food and are so much more likely to eat their veggies!
If you want more fun ways for kids to enjoy being in the garden, check out my Super Fun Gardening Activities with Kids post! But first…
Let’s go through everything you need to know to start a kids garden!
How to plan and start your kids vegetable garden
1. Pick a vegetable for your kids garden
In my opinion, picking a vegetable that your kids will enjoy watching as it grows and a vegetable that your kids will be excited to it is key to having a successful garden for kids. Being able to see and track the progress is all part of the motivation to keep gardening. This is why we choose a vegetable that has visual signs that they’re growing as well.
It’s then easier for us to track progress and talk about it, too.
Plants that go through major changes during their lifecycle are especially fun for kids to watch. Herbs for example, are pretty boring – but growing potatoes or beans are fascinating!
We find that growing potatoes are especially fun because when you grow them in potato grow bags, the kids can watch the progress above the ground, and then open the pouch in the bag, and see what’s going on underneath!
Plus potatoes turn into french fries… who doesn’t love french fries?
This is why we choose potatoes – because we could literally eat them all day, every day. And also because planting potatoes is a fun easy beginner garden veggie! It’s also a great learning experience for kids and they can do 100% of it.
This type of learning means that they’re not only getting that hands-on experience in gardening but they’re also learning a life-long skill that they’ll actually be able to use, too.
We used this to learn about the process of how a potato starts to grow and the cycle of their entire growth pattern, too.
What other vegetables are easy to grow?
If potatoes aren’t your thing, no worries! You can easily find other vegetables that the kids can grow, too. This could actually be a pretty long list.
Radish is the most often said to be the easiest plan to grow! In fact, my oldest grew radishes in school as a class project. The problem, though, is that most kids (including mine) don’t enjoy radishes. This is important to remember because you don’t want to plant food that they won’t eat. (This is why growing potatoes is a constant for it – because we love French fries!)
You can also talk to a local greenhouse in the area that you live to see what they would suggest, too! Expert advice is always good! You can also comment below with your ideas or questions and I’ll gladly answer with any hands-on experience I’ve got that may help you!
2. Determine when to plant the vegetable you chose
Planting your seeds or even a transplant at the right time of the year is key to success. I have tried to push the boundaries before and planted things using greenhouses, lights, and other methods to try to plant things out of season and let’s just say, it never turns out as well. It’s also much more complicated and difficult – not a great experience. Especially for your kid’s first garden.
You’ll want to determine your growing zone and then follow the timing for planting that your zone dictates. I love using the Farmer’s Almanac for this.
3. Pick a spot for your kid’s garden
Depending on what you decide to grow, you may need more or less sun. Depending on how much sun they need, you may need to place your garden in a specific spot.
Potatoes for example, need full sun. They need about 6+ hours of sun so make sure to pick a spot where they will get direct sun for a while if that’s what you decide to grow.
4. Get the materials you will need for your garden
You can get very specific with the garden supplies you buy. For example, some people go all organic and some don’t. Some will buy different types of soil and soil amendments, fertilizers, compost etc.
If this is your first garden, and you’re choosing something simple like potatoes, I would recommend that you just get a basic bag of soil like this. It will be more than good enough for this first gardening project!
And because it’s organic, you will be well on your way if you decide to take that route gardening.
I didn’t start my garden out organic but as I learned about gardening and how soil is basically “living” by itself, I later began to switch over and even make my own compost to feed the soil. Comment below if this is something you’d like me to write about! You don’t NEED to go organic though if you don’t want to. You’ll still get great results – especially if you go with potatoes.
You’ll also need something to grow the plants in and some seeds. I get into that more later in this post.
5. Setup your children’s vegetable garden
Now that you have everything you need you’ll want to setup the gardening containers and everything else in the most ideal spot you can. More on how to do that soon!
6. Begin planting and nurturing the garden!
Depending on what you plant, the process for planting and nurturing your garden will be a bit different. I go into exactly what you need to do for potatoes next and have a printable guide at the bottom you can print out and keep on hand!
7. Harvest and enjoy the vegetables your kids grew
This is without a doubt the BEST part! I’ve been gardneing for years and I can tell you – my kids eat anything that comes out of the garden. My oldest for example, used to pull out green onions and eat them straight from the garden!
How to grow potatoes – A step by step guide
I think that growing potatoes in a kids vegetable garden is one of the best starter plants! They will learn so much from watching the process, it’s super easy, and they are going to love the end product – potatoes!
Here’s everything you need to know to get started growing potatoes with your kids. If you want to jump straight to the very basic growing potatoes step by step list, you can scroll to the very end for my printable directions!
How do you grow potatoes from a potato?
The great news about planting potatoes is that they tend to be a pretty resilient vegetable that can grow in multiple climates and soil conditions.
While there are determinate and indeterminate potatoes, I use the same method regardless because I don’t typically buy official potato seeds so I don’t know which mine are.
Instead of buying seeds (which can be very expensive), I actually intentionally sprout store-bought potatoes and use them instead. This is another great reason why starting with potatoes for your kid’s vegetable garden is ideal – you don’t need any teeny tiny seeds and you don’t need to go buy seeds – you can use what you have on hand! (You’ll never throw out a sprouted potato or onion again – but we will talk about onions another time!)
Once your potatoes have a sprout that’s an inch or so long, you’re ready to plant them!
Can I grow potatoes from store-bought potatoes?
You bet! I get organic potatoes from Whole Foods (but organic potatoes from anywhere should work). Then I leave them by a window indoors to sprout for a few weeks. (the kids love to watch the spouts form and this is also a segway into a good conversation with them about how potatoes grow, etc.)
Note that buying official potato seeds is usually recommended because they won’t be treated with anything to prevent sprouting and because they are usually certified to be disease free. That said, I’ve had very good luck growing potatoes from store bought potatoes.
So just know that you are making that choice if you decide to go that route. I typically buy these potatoes and I love that they are multi-colored!
How to grow potatoes in a bag
Once they have sprouted, I fill a potato bag half full with 2-3 potatoes and just barely cover with soil and a little bit of water.
Easy so far, right? Learning how to how to grow potatoes step by step is a VERY simple process!
Once the potatoes sprout further and you start to see a bit of green, cover it with more soil and continue to water. You’re going to continue this same process until your potato bag is 100% full.
After that point, you continue watering like normal and help to grow the potatoes.
How long does it take to grow a potato from a potato?
In general, it takes 80-100 days to grow a potato. After a few months, the potato plant will appear to die and then you’ll know that your potatoes are ready! This is normal, make certain that the kids know this, too or they may worry!
Wait another 2 weeks after the plant looks like it has died and turned brown/fallen over. (if you can keep the plant dry during this period that’s good too but not always possible.
Then turn over the bag and pull out your potatoes!
Seriously so simple, right?
Tips For Planting Potatoes in a Kids Vegetable Garden
Although planting a garden with kids is easy, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
When you use gardening bags like the ones I have, you have a few more options on ways that you can show the kids how the vegetables are growing. You can open the flap and pull out potatoes before the plant has fully matured. This is fine and won’t harm the plant. It’s fun for the kids to do so they can see what goes on underground!
Just keep in mind that any potatoes pulled out before fully matured will be delicate which means that the skin will basically wipe off. so they need to be eaten right away.
Waiting the two weeks helps the skin harden which means that they’ll last longer and can be saved longer for more fun recipes, too.
You can plant them in a raised bed but it’s not as fun for the kids because they can’t open the bag’s flap. If you plant potatoes in a raised garden bed, you just need to put something to block animals under the raised bed or animals may burrow and eat the potatoes before you can harvest! (That happened to me this fall!)
What month do you plant potatoes?
You’re going to want to be certain that it’s time to grow potatoes where you live by checking your zip code here.
You enter your location and you’ll get a calendar showing what you should plant and when.
Just check the date it says for potatoes and you’ll want to start sprouting your potatoes a few weeks before that date.
Supplies needed to plant potatoes
These are some of the items that I love to use to plant our kid’s garden. I’ve used them and found great success.
Now that you know these easy gardening tips, it’s time to start thinking about the process with your own kids. Help them create a space that they can nurture and take care of and then use to feed the family, too!
If you like this gardening post, make certain to check out these other posts for kids as well.
Printable Growing Potatoes Step-by-Step Guide
- 1. Determine your growing zone to determine when you should start
- 2. Purchase potato seeds or organic potatoes to use as potato seeds.
- 3. Leave your potato seeds by a window indoors to sprout for a few weeks.
- 4. Once they have sprouted, fill a potato bag half full with dirt and add 2-3 potatoes. Then just barely cover them with more soil. Then water.
- 5. Once the potatoes sprout further and you see green, cover it with more soil and continue to water.
- 6. Continue this until your bag is 100% full.
- 7. Continue watering like normal.
- 8. After a few months, the potato plant will appear to die. Wait another 2 weeks after the plant looks like it has died and turned brown/fallen over. (if you can keep the plant dry then that's good too but not always possible.)
- 9. Then turn over the bag and pull out your potatoes!
The whole process should take 80-100 days.
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