Summer is here! It’s time to fill up the summer calendar with completing craft projects, sending the kids to camp, or trips to the beach. What about stepping out of the box and introducing them to vegetables and fruits in a new way? The summer vegetable garden is a great way to introduce your child to the world of gardening.
Summer Garden Plants
Hot peppers grow and produce into fall.
Green beans are easy to grow.
Okra is one of the most self-sufficient summer vegetables. It loves the heat and dry conditions.
Squash, both summer and winter types, are best grown in the heat.
Eggplant is one of the best hot-weather crops.
Cucumbers are a classic summer vegetable.
Corn is one of the most popular summer veggies because of it’s low maintenance.
Melons (watermelons, cantaloupe, honeydew) are some of the best summertime desserts.
Children’s Books on Gardening
A great way to get the kids excited about gardening would be through literature. Here are a few of our favorites that you might find helpful!
Easy Peasy: Gardening for Kids
Written by Kirsten Bradley
An introduction to easy gardening so you can grow everywhere and anywhere.
Whether you live in the city or the countryside, there are plenty of places you can plant and grow. For a new generation of green fingers there are different ways to bring nature into the home. Make your own pots, build balcony boxes, create your own bird feeders and even get friendly with worms! Each activity has been carefully chosen to create living, renewable and sustainable environments for kids and their families.
Each activity in Easy Peasy: Gardening for Kids has been carefully written by Kirsten Bradley, a leading practitioner in permaculture for kids and co-founder of Milkwood permaculture farm in Australia. The simple steps and beautiful spot illustrations make activities fun and easy to follow. The book will also feature non-activity spreads explaining the importance of why and how nature works. Illustrated by Aitch, a Romanian artist whose folkloric illustrations pay homage to vintage botanical books while giving each page a sense of modern magic.
Written by Phyllis Root, Illustrated G. Brian Karas
Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page of Anywhere Farm.
Grandpa’s Garden beautifully follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!
Henry Helps Plant a Garden
Young Henry learns how a garden grows in Henry Helps Plant a Garden. This is a colorful, basic story of creating a garden. It could be an introduction to the youngest listeners when growing their own gardens.
Written and Illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray
Lily’s grandparents move all the way across the country, but stay in touch with Lily by sending her plants and produce from their new home. Each spread deals with a new month and garden challenge for Lily. Her grandparents’ advice helps her cope with the realistic challenges presented by managing a successful garden. Lily’s Garden is also a good exploration of seasonal changes.
Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table
Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin
Will Allen is no ordinary farmer. A former basketball star, he’s as tall as his truck, and he can hold a cabbage–or a basketball–in one hand. But what is most special about Farmer Will is that he can see what others can’t see. When he looked at an abandoned city lot in Milwaukee he saw a huge table, big enough to feed the whole world. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table is a delightful way to show the power a person can have while gardening.
Gardening Lab for Kids
Written by Renata Brown
A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings. Author Renata Fossen Brown guides your family through fun opportunities learning about botany, ecology, the seasons, food, patience, insects, eating, and cooking. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on outdoor experiences. The lessons in this book are open-ended to be explored over and over – with different results each time! Garden Lab for Kids is the perfect book for creative families, friends, and community groups and works as lesson plans for both experienced and new gardeners. Children of all ages and experience levels can be guided by adults and will enjoy these engaging exercises. So, slip on your muddy clothes, and get out and grow!
The Tiny Seed
Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle
Eric Carle’s classic story of the life cycle of a flower is told through the adventures of The Tiny Seed. This mini-book includes a piece of detachable seed-embedded paper housed on the inside front cover. Readers can plant the entire piece of paper and watch as their very own tiny seeds grow into beautiful wildflowers.
Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation
Written by Peggy Thomas, Illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Thomas Jefferson was more than a president and patriot. He was also a planter and gardener who loved to watch things grow—everything from plants and crops to even his brand-new nation. As minister to France, Jefferson promoted all things American, sharing corn and pecans with his Parisian neighbors. As secretary of state, he encouraged his fellow farmers to grow olives, rice and maple trees. As president, he doubled the size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase. Even in his retirement, Jefferson continued to nurture the nation, laying the groundwork for the University of Virginia. In this meticulously researched picture book for older readers, author Peggy Thomas uncovers Jefferson’s passion for agriculture and his country.
We are the Gardeners
Written by Joanna Gaines, Illustrated by Julianna Swaney
In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From their failed endeavors, obstacles to overcome (bunnies that eat everything!), and all the knowledge they’ve gained along the way, the Gaines family shares how they learned to grow a happy, successful garden. As it turns out, trying something new isn’t always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward. There are always new lessons to be learned in the garden!
You and your children can learn all about the Gaines family’s story of becoming gardeners in Joanna’s first children’s book—starting with the first little fern Chip bought for Jo. Over the years, the family’s love for gardening blossomed into what is now a beautiful, bustling garden.
Julianna Swaney’s illustrations bring the Gaines family garden to life with colorful, whimsical watercolors and invite you to enjoy the beauty of a thriving garden.
Are you ready to do a little gardening with your little ones? To kick off the summer and spending some quality time with your kids, we’ve got a $25 gift card to giveaway to Home Depot to help get you started. Giveaway is open to US residents and ends June 10.
Do you have any recommendations on what to plant or books to read with children on the topic of gardening? Leave us a comment to let us know. We’d love to hear your thoughts!