By Melinda MacNaughton, MS, RDN
Now is a great time to get in the garden with your kids. The weather has been so nice, and it is time to get the seeds growing!
Kids have a vested interest in what they eat when they are directly involved in growing and preparing it.
Fresh food crops will be ready this spring, just a few months away! Garden with your kids and give them responsibilities like raking rows, planting seeds, covering the seeds with dirt and watering the rows. Things that grow well in our coastal climate include any type of greens, perfect for stir-fries, salads, or soups. I like broccoli and cauliflower too. In addition, you can start planting root vegetables including carrots, potatoes, beets, and radishes. I have learned that root veggies need light airy soil with added sand. Soil with some mobility to foster growth! Most types of peas and bush beans do better when planted in the fall or spring, but the weather has been so warm that you could also try a few of those now. “Ace” and “New Leaf “have a nice selection of organic seeds. My favorite place to buy organic seedlings is Sloat Garden in San Francisco. There are some great online sources to buy organic and heirloom seeds as well (examples?) . Once you plant and maintain your garden with your kids, they will be excited to see how everything grows. This excitement builds as you harvest together and prepare some delicious and fresh high antioxidant meals together.
Health Benefits we as parents are looking for:
Some great detoxification and anti-cancer foods are dark greens such as kale and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli.
Tricks with the greens:
-slugs and snails love the new shoots – when shoots first pop up, sprinkle with egg shells or organic Sluggo to prevent complete devastation of crops
Tricks with aphids:
-blast them off every time you see them with jet spray from the hose
– lady bugs!
Quick Kale salad:
~ 8 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn up or finely chopped
1-2 cups shredded beets, carrots, red cabbage and/or even yams
2-3 diced oranges
1-3 avocados (optional)
Quick Kale Salad Dressing:
Lemonade! Homemade is best so you can make it a little more acidic and add salt to taste
4-6 fresh squeezed lemons
1 cup water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp maple syrup to taste
Serves about 4 people