Making your own baby food can save a lot of money in the grocery store, and growing your own fruits and veggies can save even more. If you have a bit of a green thumb (or even if you don’t), we have tips for an easy garden plot that’s perfect for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. Even if you just grow one new veggie this summer, you’ll be ahead of the baby food game. Read on to discover how to plant your very own baby food garden.
Garden-fresh fruits and veggies taste amazing, and growing your own food is more environmentally friendly. Plus, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on food by learning to take advantage of your yard space with a veggie garden. At a bare minimum, we hope you’ll save a few bucks this summer by planting just a few veggies.
How Much Space Do You Need?
You can take advantage of any available space, even if you’re in a small apartment or house without a lot of yard space. You can plant veggies in containers like large flowerpots, use a tower setup for vertical gardening, or put a plot or two in your back (or front) yard.
An excellent gardening method for beginners, if you have the space, is the square foot gardening method. Typically, this strategy requires a 4’x4’ square of space in your yard for a raised garden bed. If you have less space, a smaller plot will work, especially for younger kids! For a more kid-friendly garden, do a 3’x3’ square so they can reach each section. The name of this method gives away the secret: you’ll be planting different veggies in each square foot section of your plot. A 4x4 plot will have 16 sections and a 3x3 plot will have 9 sections. Choose whichever one works for you and your space!
Which Vegetables Should You Plant for Baby Food?
You can grow pretty much anything your heart desires, but for a baby food garden, we’ll focus on kid-friendly foods that are typical in baby foods. Your ideal foods might differ depending on if you choose to feed purees vs. the Baby Led Weaning method. Either way, you’ll want foods that can be steamed or baked so they are soft and easy for baby to eat. This guide to planning a square foot garden lists how many plots in your garden you’ll need per veggie.
Some excellent veggies for baby include:
- Green beans
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet is a nice treat too, and you can grow the following fruits in your garden:
These fruits may need a bit more space, so research them before you plant to make sure they’ll work in the space and garden type you have. They should all work in containers as well as in a raised bed.
When Should You Start Planting Your Garden?
Start now! Potatoes can be in the ground as early as mid-March, and other plants can be started from seeds inside or planted in the spring. It will depend on your area’s climate and the particular plants you want to grow, so take a look at your seed packets or starter plants to find out when the ideal time to plant them will be. Buy organic or non-GMO seeds when possible.
How to Make Homemade Baby Food
First, always check with your doctor before you begin feeding solids. Typically, babies shouldn’t start eating solids until six months of age as recommended by the World Health Organization. Your baby may have different needs and it’s even possible that your baby doesn’t have interest in solid food at six months. This is okay. Remember the adage, “food before one is just for fun!” Let your baby try new foods and tastes as long as they’re interested.
If you’re going to do pieces of solid food as recommended by the Baby Led Weaning method, make sure food is soft and easy for baby to smash and swallow. This is a great time for foods like avocado, steamed squash or pumpkin, roasted beet, steamed potatoes and sweet potatoes, and steamed or boiled broccoli and green beans. Babies might just play with food at this point and that’s okay too!
If you’re doing purees, first you want to steam the veggies and then puree them in a blender or food processor. Feed them to baby with a spoon like you would any other jarred baby food. You can freeze the baby food in containers or pouches for easy thawing and access later. Purees are great because you can easily combine foods to give your baby a variety of vitamins and nutrients from different foods they might not like alone. For example, beet, applesauce, and spinach will be rich in iron and vitamins, but a plain roasted beet might not appeal to your little one. Mix and match flavors and options - get creative!
Ready, Set, Grow!
We can’t wait to see what you do with your garden this spring and summer. Which veggie or fruit will you grow this year?