Almost every winter, I say that this will be the year that I’ll start a garden with the kids. And every year, summer rolls around without me actually starting a garden. We’ve done containers of tomato plants and we usually have some potted herbs on our back porch, but we’ve never done the type of garden that you actually dig into the backyard.
This year, things will be different! I’ve been looking into square foot gardening, plus I have several friends with green thumbs who have offered to give me some pointers. So I’m gathering up all that I know and we will be putting a raised garden bed in our backyard this spring.
What about you? Will you be planting anything? If you aren’t gifted with gardening know-how, here are a few tips on gardening with kids to get you started. If you have tips to share, then please leave them in the comments section below!
- Look at your yard and figure out where the sun shines. Some plants need partial sun, and others need full sun. A few plants do better in dappled sunlight. In order to avoid starving your sun-loving plants or burning your shade-loving plants, you need to know where in your yard provides what your chosen plants need. If your yard faces the south, this might be the best place for the most sun.
- Get the soil ready. Here in Florida, our soil is pretty much sand. While this is good for growing carrots, it’s difficult to grow many other types of plants! Building a raised bed and filling it with gardening soil, peat moss and compost might be the best way to go if your soil is unworkable. You could also start tilling your soil and analyzing it with a kit purchased at a garden supply store. The employees who work in the store can give you hints of what to look for and add to your soil to make it more garden-friendly.
- Decide what to grow. Think about what grows well in your area; if you don’t know, ask the next time you visit a farm stand or at your garden supply store. I live where it’s hot, so growing apples is nearly impossible, and lettuce might end up bitter, as it needs to grow in cool weather. If you live in the North, you’re not going to have much luck growing tomatoes in March or bananas any time of year. You’ll also need to keep the size of your garden in mind: Overcrowding most veggies will result in dying plants, not extra produce. Follow the directions on the plants or seeds that you buy. Speaking of which…
- Decide whether to start with seeds or plants. This might be decided for you, depending on what time of year you’re getting your garden established. If it’s early in the season, you might be better off starting with seeds, and if it’s later, with plants from the nursery. Some plants are usually started as seeds. These include beans, pumpkins, lettuce, garlic and beets. Others transplant well and you can simply buy plants; some of them are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and broccoli.
If you can decide what to plant, and where and when, and get your soil ready, you’ll be a step ahead of the game when it comes time to actually plant your garden.
Do you have any more tips about gardening with kids to share with those of us without green thumbs?
Sites That Link to this Post
- Spring Gardening Projects with Kids | MissDough | March 7, 2013