Knowing how to grow tomatoes with your kids can be a great way to get them interested in many different things, all of which can be beneficial to them for the rest of their lives. It can generate a genuine love of gardening, as the tomato plant is extremely durable and fairly easy to care for, and it can be a great starting point for learning about plant biology. What’s more, growing your own tomatoes with your kids can actually get them into eating more healthy vegetables!
You likely want to begin your tomato plant indoors. Get a few small containers and some seed-starting soil, and then have your child plant the seeds about 1/8” deep into the soil. Once the little seedlings start to peek out of the soil, have your child make sure that the plants receive full sunlight throughout the day. If you have a paucity of sunlight in your area, you can supplement your child’s new favorite pastime with a grow light.
Once the last frost of the season has occurred and your child’s tomatoes are nearly ready for outdoor exposure, you’ll want to toughen them up by bringing them outdoors during the day, for longer hours every day until they can be left out overnight. If another frost is predicted, make sure to have your child bring the plant inside, as a cold night can cause irreparable damage to the plant (and to your child’s interest in gardening). When planting, make sure your child does his or her best not to disturb the roots. Once planted, have your child water it daily, in addition to a fair amount of liquid fertilizer, one with a high nitrogen count. As the plant grows, switch to fertilizers with lower nitrogen levels. Give your child some “homework” of watering the plant daily throughout the growing season. To protect your child’s prize from illness and insects, consider building a cage for your tomato plant, which should increase output (though this construction task is probably best left to the parents).
Successfully growing a tomato plant with your child could be a great way to pique his or her interest in gardening and healthy vegetables.