Gardening is a healthy and inexpensive way for children to learn and have fun. It gets them out into the fresh air – and many will develop an interest in healthy eating if they grow their own fruit and veg. The key to making it a positive first experience is to choose the right varieties – things that are quick and easy to grow, such as our Mr Men and Little Miss range.
We partnered with ‘Mr Men and Little Miss’ in 2018, to create a range of child-friendly seeds that are easy and quick to grow. Each variety has been carefully selected and features a favourite character on the packet. Here are our tips to use ‘Mr Men and Little Miss’ seeds to inspire the budding gardeners in your family!
How to get kids out into the garden
Kids love growing brightly-coloured flowers and tasty, quick-growing veg. Here’s our advice to help make their first attempt a huge success:
- Find easy to grow flowers and veg: Flowers that are easy to grow from seed, with minimum preparation, fuss and care include nasturtiums, sunflowers and poppies. And lots of veg will grow quite happily without much attention, beyond a little watering.
- Choose seeds that produce quick results: Quick-sprouting seeds are great for impatient little ones, who can see their results without much waiting! Cress will be ready to harvest just a week or two after planting – and sunflowers grow super-fast!
- Instill a sense of independence: Give your kids their own small flower bed or veg patch so they can sow and grow their own. You can also start most of these seeds on window sills and grow them in containers.
- Invest in the right tools: Get a set of child-friendly mini-tools, such as a watering can, rake and trowel, that small children can hold and use by themselves. This helps build independence and fine motor skills.
- Help them find the right resources: Check out our Kids’ Grow guides – free, downloadable fact sheets with simple, child-friendly instructions to get them started.
Best flowers to grow with kids
Here are some of the best flowers for kids to grow. Encourage them to fill window boxes, hanging baskets, patio containers and borders. They’ll brighten up your home and keep pollinators happy too. You’ll find the following in the Mr Men and Little Miss range:
- Nasturtiums are small, perfectly formed – and edible! Mr. Small – Nasturtium Whirlybird Mixed is perfect for small people to grow.
- Sunflowers are one of the easiest, fastest, tallest plants to grow. Little Miss Sunshine – Sunflower ‘Helios Flame’ will make your little ones smile.
- Poppies are simple, self-seeding – and splendid. Get your kids growing with Little Miss Splendid – Poppy ‘Flanders’.
- Ox-eye daisies provide a huggable display of flowers between May and July. Sow Little Miss Hug – Ox-Eye Daisy for fast results.
- Calendula are colourful, and Mr Clever’s favourite. But you don’t need to be clever to grow them: Mr. Clever – Calendula ‘Fruit Twist’ is really easy to grow!
Best veg to grow with kids
Get your kids involved with cooking as well as gardening, by using the fruit and veg they’ve grown themselves. It’s a fun way to encourage fussy eaters to try new foods! Here are some popular crops to get them started:
- Cucumbers are perfect for picnics and lunchboxes. Little Miss Giggles – Cucumber ‘Diva’ are mini cucumbers that are easy to grow.
- Tomatoes are sweet, juicy and delicious fresh from the garden. Keep your kids happy with the snack-sized Mr. Happy – Tomato ‘Sweet Aperitif’.
- Peas are delicious when home-grown and freshly shelled. Entertain your kids with the story of The Princess and the Pea – and grow Little Miss Princess – Pea ‘Terrain’ with them.
- Broccoli is a superfood that makes you strong and healthy – so it’s Mr Strong’s favourite! Grow Mr. Strong – Broccoli ‘Bell Star’ to encourage your kids to eat their greens.
- Squash are delicious roasted or in soups. Try Mr. Bump – Squash ‘Harrier’ for a tasty butternut squash that’s easy to grow.
- Sweetcorn is fun to grow, and Mr Funny’s favourite. Try Mr. Funny – Sweetcorn ‘Swift’, fresh from the garden.
- Peppers don’t make you sneeze when they’re sweet! Try Mr. Sneeze – Pepper ‘Boneta’ for easy-to-grow peppers perfect for picnics and salads.
- Cress grows super-quick, and is a fun activity for young children. Remember growing ‘cress heads’ as a child? Use Mr. Tickle – Cress ‘Extra Curled’ for curly hair, and follow our Kids’ Grow Cress activity sheet for full instructions.
- Carrots might not help you see in the dark, but they’re super-healthy. Little Miss Chatterbox – Carrot ‘Romance’ will get your kids talking about their gardening success.
- Runner beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow – and they grow fast! Mr. Tall – Runner Bean ‘Moonlight’ will need canes to support them.
Inspiring children to enjoy gardening gives them a healthy hobby for life. Start them off growing these quick and easy seeds, and you’ll soon have your own Mr Happy or Little Miss Sunshine! For more information, check out our free Kids’ Grow guides for child-friendly instructions on how to grow these plants and more.
Since the first seed catalogue was published in 1855, Thompson & Morgan has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Mail Order Seed and Plant companies. Through the publication of our catalogues and the operation of our award-winning website, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy.