If you want your kids to cook, find a cookbook with kids their age cooking in the photos. If you can’t wait for a green thumb chef to stop by their school and teach them how to plant a garden, then get them a book with kids planting and tending a garden in the photos. Elizabeth McCorquodale ‘s colorful Kids in the Garden: Growing Plants for Food and Fun (Black Dog 2010) hits the mark and more. It is full of sound and easy to understand advice for kids (and their adults) to grow food plants, and it even includes recipes. The photos of the kids, few of whom mug for the camera, will encourage kids to plant their own garden.
Kids in the Garden starts with an introduction to plants and growing vegetables including plants and their parts, the carbon cycle, germination, and seed dispersal. There are sections on soil and fertilizer, compost, worms, and all the equipment your kids will need. There is plenty to read for older kids, but there are also photographs, and cartoons to keep younger children engaged. Elizabeth teaches kids how to use egg cartons filled with earth to plant seeds. She shows how to use a popsicle stick marked at one inch poked in the soil so you know exactly how far to push the seed.
Project pages follow up starting with growing sprouts, and then growing different kinds of food plant from baby broad beans to tomatoes. The pages on zucchini, pumpkins and squash have photos of different kinds of winter squash and a girl push a wheelbarrow with a huge pumpkin she has grown in it. At the bottom of each page are colorful symbols to quickly identify how much sun, water, time to harvest, etc, is needed for each plant. At the back of the book in the recipe section, your kids can find recipes for Pumpkin Soup, Zucchini Dippers and Zucchini Fudge Cake (p. 81).
Kids in the Garden would make a terrific holiday gift for any child who can find a bit of sun and earth this spring where he or she can plant a garden.