Eight-year-old Angad and 11-year-old Jasmine had a bit of experience with gardening when they grew a few herbs and a strawberry plant last summer. So, when their mom, Indu Arora, saw the notice about the Our Food Future Kids Get Growing gardening kit on the City’s Twitter account, she asked them if they wanted to try again and they were both on board.

The whole family helped out planting and watering the garden which consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, melon, lettuce and spicy peppers.

Angad says he learned that each type of plant has different needs and you have to plan for that.

“When we first got it, we had to find a spot for the cucumber that was separate from the rest of the garden, because we needed just a bit of sun for the cucumber,” says Angad. He says they also learned that each plant needs to be protected in its own way. “The squirrel stole all of the tomatoes but one! We put a cage around the garden after that which helps. And I learned that the cucumber takes forever so we have to give it lots of water and a bit of sun,” he adds.

Angad says the experience has encouraged him to eat healthy foods. “I like that we can grow fresh vegetables and fruits and it’s exciting when my fruits and vegetables can be picked. If I don’t have a vegetable garden, then I will eat more junk food. I like having a vegetable garden and eating healthy,” he says.

The only downsides for Angad are that he doesn’t like that it takes so much time to grow vegetables and fruits and he wishes they grew faster. But he adds, “it’s less work than I expected – every day we just have to water and watch the plants, it was only work to plant the vegetables and fruits.”

Both Angad and Jasmine are looking forward to harvesting the garden. “We are going to make a salad with fresh tomatoes and cucumber,” says Angad. “And a pasta sauce!” he adds excitedly.

In total, 700 children and youth in Guelph-Wellington signed up for the Kids Get Gardening free at-home gardening kit as part of Grow Back Better: Our Food Future’s new 10-point recovery plan to respond to COVID-19. The Kids Get Growing gardening kits is one of the first initiatives to launch as part of Grow Back Better and is being offered in partnership with the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph.