Expert Interview: Sue Adair of Goddard Schools

With summer fast approaching many of us are thinking of starting, or continuing, home vegetable gardens. This week we are talking to Sue Adair, Director of Education at Goddard Schools, which is the number one child care franchise company in the United States . As an expert in early childhood development and learning, she currently oversees early childhood education programs and teacher training for over 360 schools across the United States . Goddard recently announced its Goddard Gets Gardening initiative which teaches students all about planning, planting, care-taking and harvesting an actual garden. http://goddardschool.com/

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What is the best way to get kids involved in a home garden?

Get the children involved in the decision of the type of garden including concept design, what to plant and how to arrange.

What are some “chores” they can do to help tend the garden?

Plant seeds, water, weed and harvest. Keep the space and size of the the garden small so that it doesn’t overwhelm the child/children.

What types of fruits and veggies will stand up to kids that are eager to help with the garden?

Bean seeds are big enough for children to handle easily. Tomatoes and radishes mature quickly and children enjoy eating them right off the plant.

What fruits and vegetables work best in planters with little or no sun?

Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and bush beans do well in small container gardens that can be placed on porches or balconies.

What is the best way to go about gardening with no chemical pesticides?

Look for disease and pest resistant plants—children love to touch!!

What are some of the easiest starter fruits and vegetables for those of us that lack a green thumb?

Beets, cucumber, onions, peas, radishes and spinach.

What is the easiest fruit tree to grow? Do all have to be male/female?

Choose local varieties that will do well in soil conditions near you. For example, plums do well in damp soil, where pears and apples prefer dryer soil. Avoid peach trees if you live in a rainy area. Be sure to provide pollinators—ask your local nursery for advice.

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Lowe’s has recently launched a new line to help encourage kids to develop healthy lifestyles. Plus, what’s great about this new line is that it is “kid sized” so it doesn’t have the major commitment of a large backyard garden. The Sesame Street Gardening line includes a Mini Greenhouse ($4.99), Mini Garden ($5.99), My First Garden Kit ($10.99) and seed packets ($1.99). How great are those prices? Also, all materials include a booklet with activities for children, planting tips for parents and healthy recipes parents and children can make and enjoy together. Next time you are at Lowe’s be sure to check out the Sesame Street Gardening Line from Ferry Morse.

What other gardening questions do you have? Are you planning to start a vegetable garden this summer?

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6 comments

  1. We have just started our veggie garden this week and we're so excited to teach Max & Sadie how to garden!

  2. I've got seedlings started for my veggie garden and am hoping to transplant sometime this week! My boys are still a little young, I think, to be helpful but I look forward to teaching them in a year or so!

  3. This is so timely and so helpful!! I've always planted many flower gardens but want to do a small vegetable garden this year with my girls. Thanks for the information!!

  4. I took the twins with me when I got my seeds over a month ago. I let them each pick out their own pack of seeds to plant. Then they helped put them in the planters to protect them from frost this past month. Saturday we spent all day in the yard. Transplanting some, planting flowers of their own. They really enjoyed it!

  5. Maybe I start my vegetable garden soon. Thanks for the interview.

  6. We've had a backyard garden for a couple of years now. We get the kids to help out with planting, weeding and harvesting and they love it! It's a great way to get the kids excited about eating veggies!

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