How to Grow a Learn-to-Love Veggie Garden for Every Space

“I love Brussels sprouts,” said no kid ever.

If you feel like your kid exists on a diet of mostly complex carbs, we feel you. Picky eaters can be frustrating, especially when you know that if, given the chance, they might like broccoli as much as you do—even when it's not covered in melted cheese. One way to help little ones open their mouths and their minds is to involve them in the growing process. Enter the learn-to-love garden, a veggie patch the whole family can enjoy, from planting to noshing. And who knows, the kids, or even you, might discover a new favorite!

Whether you have a yard with room to spare, a deck, or a small balcony, you can grow and enjoy fresh vegetables no matter your space. You probably know they need sunlight (6 or more hours per day) and water, but a pro tip for getting twice the bounty (vs. unfed plants) is to feed them. A month after planting, begin giving them Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food following the label directions. The little ones will surely get a kick out of the fact that the veggies they're going to eat need their own food, too.

For Backyards: A Learn-to-Love Raised Bed Garden

Devote an entire 4x4 raised bed to growing produce so you and your family can go all-in on home gardening. Growing several different types of vegetables will hopefully transform your picky eater into a veggie connoisseur.

What you'll need:

What to do:

This mix of warm- and cool-season plants keeps the harvest coming over a longer stretch of time. Plant your peas and Brussels sprouts at the back of your raised bed so their height won't block the sun from the rest of your plants. Keep your broccoli close to the edge so you can harvest the heads before they become mealy, and your Swiss chard along another edge because their colorful stalks are sure to delight curious eyes. Your beets and kale are okay in the center with partial shade, but bring your lima beans (make sure they're the common bush variety) and cucumbers forward so they can get full sun. Those two can be planted a little later than the rest, depending on where you live, so leave room for them.

For Decks & Patios: A Learn-to-Love Container Garden

There's no excuse not to eat your veggies when they're right outside the back door. This group of containers allows you to experience the fun of vegetable gardening without sacrificing lawn space.

What you'll need:

What to do:

Place each vegetable in the container size we've suggested, and then follow the instructions on your seed packet or plant tag for the best results. But keep one thing in mind: The soil in containers dries out more quickly than that of a raised bed, so water frequently. Also, make sure the pot for your beets is at least 10 inches deep because their roots really like to settle further down into the soil. It's a beet thing, and they're allowed it!

For Balconies: A Learn-to-Love Single Container Garden

Healthy, delicious, homegrown vegetables at your fingertips? Sign us up! This single container is packed with two different leafy greens and four luscious beets.

What you'll need:

What to do:

A single container with these three veggies is going to be a thing of beauty and wonder. Kids will love the vibrant nature of Swiss chard stalks—there's a reason it's called "Bright Lights"—as much as they do pulling up deeply saturated beets hiding down in the soil. If you haven't already explained Popeye's magical spinach powers, now's the time. Make a salad of it to see if their kid muscles turn into bulging biceps. You'll at least get them to taste it in the process, and that's half the battle!


Now you know how to grow a learn-to-love vegetable garden. Even if the food isn't an instant hit, there is a silver lining: You've planted the seeds for a deeper understanding of how food is grown and instilled a sense of culinary adventure. Tastes change, so there's still hope for those picky eaters yet.

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