Getting your kids to eat their vegetables is a struggle many Americans know all too well, but playing in the dirt? No problem. So, why not tie the two together? Enter the Alphabet garden: a fun way to get kids excited about growing their own food.
Kids love showing off their alphabet skills, and if we can tie that back to the land, all the better. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce them to organic gardening. After all, if the little ones are going to be spending lots of time in the garden, getting their hands dirty, going organic will ensure they are not needlessly exposed to toxic chemicals.
We frequently host tours for school groups at our Farm Stand in Carmel Valley, Calif. and a huge highlight is all of the plants that grow in the Alphabet Garden. When was the last time you saw quinoa or artichokes growing in the wild? An Alphabet garden can spark interest in plants, new and familiar, and it might just convince them that eating plants is cool too, which we can definitely get behind.
Our Alphabet garden is pretty large—and we realize we have a little more space than the average gardener—but containers, buckets or flower beds with ample sun are all great places to get started. Scatter them around the entire yard so that you can tour them as you wish, and don’t forget to mark what’s what!
Here are some ideas of plants to get you started:
A: Alyssum, Asparagus, Artichoke
B: Broccoli, Bok Choy, Basil, Bush Beans, Beets
C: Carrots, Corn, Cabbage, Celery, Cucumbers
D: Dill, Dahlia, Daisy
E: Endive, Eggplant, Echinacea, Edamame
F: Fennel, Flax, Fig
G: Garlic, Gardenia, Grapes
H: Honey Dew, Hyssop, Hibiscus
I: Impatiens, Ivy, Iris, Indigo
J: Johnny Jump Up, Juniper, Jasmine
K: Kohlrabi, Kale, Kalanchoe
L: Leeks, Lettuce
M: Melon, Marigold
P: Parsley, peas, potatoes, pumpkin
R: Radish, Raspberries
S: Spinach, Squash, Strawberries
U: Upland Cress