Ask a Question forum: Resistant/easy summer vegetable cultivars for kids to grow

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 16, 2018 9:17 AM CST
A coworker wants to plan a small raised bed (about 18 inches by 36 inches) for her kids, ages 4 and 7.

She asked me for help deciding which vegetables to grow. Initially she said she wanted squash and cherry tomatoes. I told her that would be stretching it in a small space, to consider cucumbers and beans (big seeds, easy to plant, easy to harvest, quick turnaround times).

Do you know of any varieties which are resistant to diseases/insects? I have a feeling whatever gets planted is going to be neglected for long periods so I want them to have as much chance of success as possible. I don't normally look for these criteria (disease/insect resistance) myself so I have very little first-hand information stored in my head as to which varieties are less-likely to cause issues.

Do those of you with kids grow any particular varieties with them?

One thing I did suggest is also growing nasturtiums that the kids can eat. She loved that idea, so at least I wasn't useless. lol
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Name: Chris
Hermann, MO (Zone 6a)
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FoolOnTheHill
Apr 16, 2018 9:25 AM CST
I have great luck with rattlesnake beans, as well as provider. Almost any cherry tomatoes would probably do fine for the kids, as most are productive and easily grown. I'd recommend whatever plants they can buy near them of these, although they might like pear for the interesting shape. The nasturtium was a great idea! They are a bit peppery. My nieces (5 and 8) like borage flowers, which are blue and taste like cucumber. They grow easily, the flowers pop right off to eat by pulling on the center (no stems), and when the plants get too big, just remove them to clear space for other plants coming in.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 16, 2018 9:27 AM CST
Do your cherry tomatoes not take up a ton of space? Mine always seem to grow much, much larger than an 18" x 36" raised bed could handle, especially when there are several other vegetables involved. Maybe there is a smaller variety though.

I'm looking into rattlesnake beans right now. Smiling
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 16, 2018 9:32 AM CST
Radishes are a good reliable and quick crop for instant gratification. Leaf lettuce or other greens can be planted in the shape of the child's name or initial. A great hit for my kids/grandkids was stevia - the leaves are quite sweet. Carrots are fun to pull and eat. A strawberry pot is easy and yummy. Great project, enjoy it.
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Name: Chris
Hermann, MO (Zone 6a)
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FoolOnTheHill
Apr 16, 2018 9:44 AM CST
Well, if you cage and prune the tomatoes, they would leave room. Borage gets big fast, too. Love Deb's suggestions better. Those are all well suited to small areas and quick growing!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 16, 2018 10:02 AM CST
So this is going to sound dumb...but I don't think I have ever pruned a tomato in my life. I just let them grow and fruit for as long as they can, even if it's 10 feet tall (and some of them have gotten that big.

It's amazing how simple things like pruning tomatoes don't enter your radar if you never do it yourself. I'm guessing they still produce fruit after they are pruned, right?
Keep going!

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