5 plants perfect for little gardeners to tend

photo credit: getty imagesphoto credit: getty imagesI love gardening but have always faced a serious challenge: I lack a green thumb. Every plant that becomes part of our backyard must be hardy. Based on my track record, delicate flowers don't last long.

When it comes to gardening with my children, plant choice is critical. Lucky for me, I know all about finding plants that are easy enough for kids to grow.

If you're looking for a gardening project with your little ones, the best plants are those your kids will look forward to seeing when they bloom. Edible flowers, fruits and vegetables are always a good choice and if you lack space, you can always plant in containers. In fact, I prefer having my kids use containers for gardening because my kids feel a sense of ownership. Also? It's easier for the kids to figure out a watering schedule; containers always have to be watered more frequently.

Five plants that are ideal for your young kid gardeners include:

  • Strawberries. Instead of growing berries from seed, find a starter pack at your local gardening store. With a steady stream of sunlight and water, your kids will love seeing the tiny white flowers bloom and then turn into sweet strawberries.
  • Zucchini. Plant this hardy veggie from seed and watch them take over a patch of dirt with bright, colorful orange blossoms! The blossoms are delicious when chopped and mixed into a cheese quesadilla, a kid-friendly snack. If you decide to let the blossoms grow into zucchini, make sure you have a long list of recipes for your bounty.
  • Purple Beans. Help your kids take three long sticks and form them into a tepee, which can be secured with strong twine. Plant the bean seeds at the base of each stick and as the beans sprout, they'll grow around the sticks! Once purple beans are picked off the plant, you can cook them. Your kids will get a kick of their magic powers -- the beans turn from purple to green!
  • Edible Flowers. My favorite edible flowers are Viola Amber Jewels. You can grow from seed and they only need partial sun. Your kids can eat the flower petals (flower pizza!) or you can even candy the petals for a sweet treat (dip them in simple syrup than dip them in a light sugar).
  • Herbs. Most herbs are super hardy and require only sun and water, with regular pruning to keep a steady bounty. Chives, basil, cilantro and thyme are all easy to grow. If you want to try something fun, like chocolate mint, make sure you plant this in a container because it can take over your garden.
Do your kids like to garden? What projects are you working on with them? And what are your favorite plants to have them grow?