I have the opposite of a green thumb and yet I try to grow a garden every year. Over the last few years, I have learned my limits and where to put my plants. My yard is very shady, so I use a lot of planters on my deck (the sunniest spot on our property). Each year the kids and I plant seeds and watch them grow. Given my lack of a green thumb, this usually results in my buying seedlings when the weather is warm but the kids enjoy selecting seeds and watching them sprout.
It is fun to take the kids to the store and let them pick vegetables to grow in our garden. You would be surprised at what they pick out. I don’t sway them from picking vegetables that they don’t usually eat or limit them to foods that will grow better in New England. Once the weather warms up, we plant the vegetables outside and the kids play an active role in watering the plants and picking our vegetables. They are willing to try anything off the plant. The cherry tomatoes rarely make it into the house. It may not become their favorite food, but at least they try something new. My youngest also picks herbs off the plants and eats them on the deck. He can smell very minty at times
Involving the kids in the process makes for a great project and helps them learn about where food comes from and makes it more fun to eat their vegetables. My older son’s school took this philosophy and created a garden at the school. A group of volunteers and a lot of help from the community has led to a great garden. The entire school planted seeds and the kids were able to go out and check the progress. Each student was able to pick from the garden at the beginning of the season and again at the end. They were even able to supply the school cafeteria with lettuce and vegetables for salads in the fall. Being New England, the growing season isn’t very long but they certainly made the best of it.
It doesn’t take much to start a few plants. Put soil in an old egg carton and then have the kids place one seed in each spot. Continue to water and you will see sprouts quickly. The squashes tend to have big sprouts so the kids really like to see them. They will need to be transferred to bigger containers as they grow or they can go outside if you live in a warmer area. Making it a family adventure helps to ease the work and more fun to share the bounty. A fresh salad from the garden makes summer dinners that much more fun!
Here are a few links about starting a garden:
- Planting seedlings (thefarmstress.wordpress.com)
- Use an Egg Carton to Jumpstart Your Garden this Spring [Clever Uses] (lifehacker.com)
- Planting Cool Season Crops (waterloogardens.wordpress.com)