Dig In: 3 Themed Vegetable Gardens Kids Will Love to Grow ... and Eat

From soil to supper!

By Kara Murphy, Macaroni KID April 3, 2024

Starting a family garden has loads of benefits. There’s the unbeatable freshness and health perks of eating veggies right from your yard. But more than that, it’s a fun family project, from the initial planning stages to enjoying the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor. We started our own garden a few years ago and nothing makes me happier than seeing the kids picking veggies and eating them right from our garden!

I love having my kids help me in the garden. It's a practical way for kids to learn about responsibility, nature, and science. Observing a plant's lifecycle — especially when it transforms from a tiny seed into something edible — is pretty cool and teaches kids a deeper respect for the environment. Plus, it’s a clever strategy to encourage outdoor time, moving them away from screens and into the sunshine. Read more about the benefits of gardening with kids.

Kara Murphy | Macaroni KID

Making markers for our garden.

Many of the veggies mentioned here can thrive in containers or in the ground, making gardening more accessible, even if you’re not up for digging a big plot in your yard.

Introducing a themed garden idea is a great way to kickstart your family's gardening journey, and get a child excited about gardening. Here are three kid-friendly themed garden ideas:

Katerina Homes | Canva

Homemade pizza sauce and toppings are so yummy.

1. Pizza Garden

Turn mealtime into an exciting farm-to-table experience with a garden that grows all you need for the perfect family pizza night.

  • Tomatoes: Easy to grow and fun to pick, tomatoes are a pizza staple for sauces and toppings.
  • Bell Peppers: Add a splash of color and sweet flavor.
  • Onions: Hardy plants that offer a lesson in underground growth.
  • Garlic: Simple to cultivate and great for teaching about bulb plants.
  • Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Thyme): Fast-growing and aromatic, these herbs introduce kids to a variety of flavors.

2. Salsa Garden

Create a zesty garden where kids can harvest ingredients for homemade salsa, learning about the different tastes and uses of each vegetable.

  • Tomatoes: The base of any good salsa, tomatoes are versatile and provide a big harvest. Get a few varieties in different sizes!
  • Peppers (think jalapeños, bell, habaneros): Offers a lesson in the variety of spice and heat, plus they grow in fun shapes and colors.
  • Onions: Show the diversity of uses in cooking, from fresh to grilled.
  • Cilantro: A fast grower, cilantro teaches about leafy herbs and their flavors.

Kara Murphy | Macaroni KID

Some of the veggies from our garden last year.

3. Salad Garden

Encourage healthy eating habits with a garden where kids can pick ingredients for their own salads, seeing — and tasting — firsthand how delicious growing your own vegetables can be.

  • Lettuce & Spinach: Quick to sprout and harvest, these leafy greens are the backbone of almost all salads.
  • Cucumbers: Fascinating for kids to watch grow, especially when they can pick and eat them fresh.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Sweet and bite-sized, perfect for little hands to pick.
  • Radishes: Offer a quick reward, as they're one of the fastest-growing vegetables.
  • Carrots: Fun to pull from the ground, providing a surprise reveal of their size and shape.

This growing season create lasting memories and learning experiences for your children with a garden. Whether it’s a few pots on a patio or a larger plot in the yard, what matters most is the journey of growing, harvesting, cooking, and eating together. Happy growing!