Head Start Healthy Start Curriculum

My First Garden

Harvesting & Tasting

Lesson Overview

In this exciting lesson, children will be encouraged to try new healthy foods - that they've helped grow! They will be introduced to cooking and food preparation skills, and have a chance to involve parents and other family members in food choices and exploration.

Preview Lesson
Farmer girl holding lettuce

Activity 1
Harvesting the garden

Observe the garden and talk about how we know when a plant is ready to pick and eat. Explain that even though we are picking part of the plant to eat, usually the whole plant lives on so we must be careful when pulling off a leaf or fruit or pod that we do not pull out the roots.

Using hands or scissors, pick lettuce & spinach leaves; pull radishes from ground; pluck off pea pods, etc. Put harvest into a bowl, basket or bag to bring inside.

Activity 2
Making a salad

Bring bowl of harvested leaves inside. Children will wash the leaves, with the help of an adult, by filling up the bowl with water and moving the leaves around to loosen any soil. They will remove the leaves and place them in a strainer to drain in the sink. Then children will rip leaves into small pieces and place in the bowl.

Remember: It is very important to teach children the best way to wash hands before handling food. Use warm water, soap hands and sing the "ABC's" twice through while rubbing together, then dry with disposable paper towel.


  • Downloadable Recipe Card
  • Scissors
  • Baskets/Bags
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Recipe Ingredients
  • Knives
  • Sink and Water for washing produce
  • Strainer
  • Cutting Board

Activity 3
Make salad dressing

Children will mix ingredients and shake up jars to combine.

Ranch Dressing Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup buttermilk or regular milk
  • ¾ - 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried chives
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon finely cracked pepper
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste, approximately 1-3 teaspoons, adjust to taste


Whisk together the mayo, sour cream and milk until smooth. Add the spices and whisk until combined. Add the lemon and whisk again. Pour into a jar and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This dressing will keep nicely in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

Activity 4
Sautéed Greens

This is great for kale, spinach or pac choi and only takes about 5-10 minutes total time.


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ lb – ¾ lb of greens (nice sized bunch)
  • Salt and Pepper


Wash and chop up greens finely. Mince or press garlic. Heat olive oil in medium to large pan and then drop in garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add greens and stir gently until coated with oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until wilted but still bright green. Serve topped with sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese or just plain. Also delicious mixed in pasta, rice or couscous.