Providing your baby with organic, pesticide-free and nourishing first foods is high on the priority list for many parents. The problem for many is being able to source food that you can be certain ticks all these boxes. Growing food in your own garden gives you the opportunity to ensure that the first foods your baby eats, whatever time of year they start, will be grown with love.
Depending on your climate and the time of year will determine what foods you can plant, so make sure you download our free-planting guides. Here are some perfect first foods for baby. They’ve been tried and tested by Mum’s and are sure to meet your baby’s needs.
Organic baby food
Sweet potato will grow happily once the frost has passed and the temperature doesn’t drop below 20C. In temperate climates, plant from September onwards, with the aim of harvesting right up until March. You can typically grow all year round in a tropical climate.
If you’re growing from seedlings, make sure you source from your local nursery, or alternatively, buy a sweet potato from a local organic farmers market. Ensure it has knobbly eyes on the outside. These eyes are where the sweet potato will produce tubers from. Store the sweet potato in a cool, dark, dry cupboard and it will sprout. If you get several shoots from your sweet potato you can cut it up into pieces ensuring each piece of potato, with shoot, is about 8 cm wide.
Plant the tubers into good, organic soil with the shoots pointing up. Make sure you mulch well. Sweet potatoes don’t like to dry out so make sure you keep on top of your watering, ensuring you don’t over water. They also like the sun, so plant in a spot that gets a minimum of 6 hours sun per day. Like a pumpkin, sweet potato runs, so bear this in mind when you choose where you are going to plant.
Once you harvest your sweet potato, you can’t eat it straight away. It has to be cured first, if not it will not have that lovely sweet taste and will be very starchy. To cure them they need to be stored in a warm area that is around 29C and that has 90% humidity for about a week. Then they need to go into a cooler space at around 16C to store.
Once the sweet potato is ready, peel it and cut it into 3cm cubes. Steam it until soft. Then place in a tall jug and using a stick blender, puree it until there are no lumps.
Once cooled, separate into portions and store in Sinchies pouches in the freezer ready for baby.
Zucchini grows best in warm weather, so plant seedlings in spring in a temperate climate, closer to November in a cold mountain climate and in a subtropical and tropical climate, you can plant seeds into the ground from July onwards. They take between 2 and 3 months to provide a harvest.
Once planted, mulch well around its base and keep watered. Feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser to encourage growth.
Initially, zucchini will produce only male flowers. Once the weather warms up, female flowers will start to grow and at this point, it is vital that pollinators arrive to help you to produce fruit. If you are not seeing any zucchini grow you can hand pollinate your plant. Take an unused small paint brush. Using a newly opened male flower, brush the pollen and place it onto the stamen of a female flower. The stamen is situated in the middle of the flower. You can use the pollen from one male flower for multiple female flowers. To identify a female flower, it has what looks like a small zucchini at its base.
Once you harvest your zucchini, wash them, remove the ends and slice about 2 cm thick. Place in a steamer and cook until just soft. Place into a tall jug and using a stick blender puree. Once cooled store in portions in Sinchies reusable pouches.
Capsicum grows best in warm temperatures, so plant in spring in temperate and subtropical climates, November in cold mountain, and through autumn in a tropical climate. The best thing about capsicum is the plant continues to bear fruit year after year if you look after it.
They like full sun, so plant in a spot that gets a minimum of 6 hours per day and give them a deep water so their roots spread and they establish well. Don’t allow them to dry out and make sure you mulch well. The fruit will form from the flower. All capsicum are green to start, the sun ripens them to the colour you have chosen e.g. red or yellow. They can produce fruit for several months and provide you with a continuous crop.
When you pick your capsicum, place them on a baking tray in a hot oven (220F fan assisted) until the skin turns black. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the top, peel off the skin and remove any seeds. Place into a tall jug and using a stick blender puree. Store in Sinchies pouches.
We made a capsicum and cauliflower puree for our baby using 2 parts cauliflower to one part capsicum.
Cauliflower, like the temperature to have cooled down so this is a crop that wants to be planted around April in every climate. The leaves of the cauliflower are large so this plant needs a good-sized area to itself, around 70cm spacing from other plants. They like to be in full winter sun and once planted, should be mulched well and kept watered. Feed every week with a liquid fertiliser to encourage growth.
They will take about 4 months to yield a cauliflower and as they like the temperature to be cool, ideally you want this to be fruiting in winter. To protect the cauliflower as it grows, use the big leaves and wrap them around the cauliflower and peg them together. This will act as a sunshade for the cauliflower and help to stop it from bolting.
When you pick your cauliflower, cut it into florets, place in a steamer and cook until just soft. Place into a tall jug and using a stick blender puree. You can store this by itself in Sinchies pouches or alternatively, mix with capsicum and store together.
Sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas like cooler temperatures so are best planted through autumn and winter in temperate climates, in a subtropical climate in autumn and in cold mountain in early spring.
They need to be supported as they grow so make sure you give them a frame to cling to. In the beginning, they will need a little help to find it but will soon put out tendrils and attach themselves. They are an easy to grow plant, requiring a reasonably sunny spot and to be kept up with water. Mulch well once planted.
As the sugar snap peas grow, harvest regularly as new snow peas are more tender to eat.
When you harvest, remove the top, place in a steamer and cook until just soft. Place in a tall jug and using a stick blender puree. Store in Sinchies pouches. We made a sugar snap pea and spinach puree for baby using a half and half mix.
Spinach / silverbeet (or chard)
Spinach grows best in cool temperatures and colder climates so plant out in autumn and winter in cold mountain climates and in autumn in temperate climates. Growing at this time of the year will help to stop it from bolting quickly. If you are in a warmer climate you can grow silverbeet instead.
Plant in a sunny spot, water regularly and make sure it is mulched well. Use a liquid fertiliser every two weeks to encourage growth. It is an easy crop to grow and you can usually start harvesting within 4 weeks. Pick the outer leaves to eat and it will continue to grow.
For silverbeet, growing is even easier. In most of Australia, it grows all year round. It’s extremely hardy and loves a good feed of nitrogen to spur on the lush green leaves. Mulch well and keep the water up to it and your plants can be harvested for months on end.
Once picked, wash the leaves and place in a steamer. When softened place in a tall jug and using a stick blender puree. Spinach can be stored by itself in Sinchies pouches or added to another pureed vegetable for a baby.