12 Easy Edibles

Fill your family garden with these easy-to-grow, kid-friendly fruits and vegetables.

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©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Lettuce

The speed at which lettuces grow is always impressive. Most tempting of all are baby leaves, for which you should sow over a wide drill. Cut the small plants with scissors, leaving an inch of growth so that they can grow back. H: 8-10 in (20-25 cm); S: 10-14 in (25-36 cm); full hardy plants; moist to wet soil; full sun

Fava Beans

Fava beans are simple to sow: Just push the huge seeds into the ground and they will grow. You don’t need to cultivate the soil to a fine tilth. They germinate, grow and crop quickly. Sow in fall and pinch out the tips in spring to prevent blackfly. H: 36 in (90 cm); S: 10 in (25 cm); fully hardy plants; moist to wet soil; full sun

Broccoli Is a Great Home Garden Choice

Broccoli is the quickest of the brassicas, ready to eat just a few months after sowing. It is also compact, which makes it useful for smaller plots. Sow seeds in modules in early spring, planting them out when weather improves, or sow direct in late spring. H: 36 in (90 cm); S: 20 in (50 cm); need protection from frost over winter; moist to wet soil; full sun

Carrots

Carrots can be eaten at any stage of their growth, but children particularly love them when they are tiny and sweet. Sow either little and often to get a constant supply of baby carrots, or sow a row and eat the thinnings, leaving the remainder to mature. H: 6 in (15 cm); S: 6 in (15 cm); full hardy plants; wet soil; full sun

Zucchini Blossoms are Colorful and Edible

Zucchini make the ideal beginner’s plant as they produce huge crops with little effort. Zucchinis are tender, so sow seeds indoors in early spring and plant once all danger of frost has passed. Alternatively, buy plants from the nursery in early summer. H: 3 ft (1 m); S: 3 ft (1 m); moist to wet soil; full sun

New Potatoes

Digging up potatoes, finding hidden treasure under that mound of foliage, will always be a magical experience. New potatoes are the tastiest — and quickest — of the lot. Allow seed potatoes to sprout (chit) in light, cool conditions and plant in early spring. H: 3 ft (1 m); S: 3 ft (1 m); full hardy plants; moist to wet soil; full sun

Peas

Peas are lovely fresh from the pod, but they are big plants and fall prey to many pests. Snow peas are much easier, and they have a sweetness and crunch that is appealing to children. Sow a small amount every few weeks from spring to midsummer. H: 6 ft (1.8 m); full hardy plants; moist to wet soil; full sun

Pumpkins

Pumpkins can be carved at Halloween and you can spark a child’s competitive instinct by trying to grow a giant to show off at the county fair. Plants are tender so sow seeds indoors in spring and plant out once danger of frost has passed. H: 3 ft (1 m); S: 10 ft (3 m); need protection from frost over winter; moist to wet soil; full sun

Spring Onions

Spring onions are the quickest of the onions and are also relatively mild and palatable to children. They take up little space in the vegetable garden. Sow directly where they are to grow in spring, thinning out after seeds have germinated. H: 8 in (20 cm); S: 1 in (2.5 cm); full hardy plants; moist to wet soil; full sun

Strawberries

Make sure that strawberries are planted in your sunniest spot, and try to prevent eager hands from picking them too soon. The rule is: When you think they are ready, leave them for one more day. Protect the plants well from slugs and other pests. H: 6 in (15 cm); S: 12 in (30 cm); full hardy plants; wet soil; full sun

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is a favorite vegetable of many children, who love the novelty of eating the kernels off the cob. Sweet corn needs sowing indoors in spring and planting out once all danger of frost has passed. Plant in a block, as flowers are wind-pollinated. H: 6 ft (1.8 m); S: 12 in (30 cm); needs protection from frost over winter; wet soil; full sun

Tomatoes

There is a huge variety of tomatoes available, and the bite-sized cherry tomatoes are especially popular. These also have the benefit of maturing early and can miss the worst of blight. Look out for stripy-skinned heirloom cultivars. H: 6 ft (1.8 m); S: 24 in (60 cm); need protection from frost over winter; moist to wet soil; full sun