If you’d love to gain some low-stress family time, fresh air and outdoor exercise – along with fresh, tasty food – consider growing a family veggie garden. Gardening together can also help the whole family build teamwork skills and provide a bit of education in math, science, nature, nutrition and even art – plant labels & scarecrows. The biggest step is getting started…so here we go!
Where should you put your garden?
A sunny location (6+ hours a day) is going to give the best and healthiest plant growth and the most veggies. The location should have well-drained, fertile soil. Healthy soil can be purchased (pricey) or created (could be free, does take time) if you don’t already have it. The first step is to test your soil to determine what nutrients it may be lacking, and then you can decide on bringing soil in or boosting your existing soil with compost. A final factor in choosing a garden location is ease of access to water –growing veggies are thirsty veggies, and long hauls with hoses or jugs can get tiresome very quickly!
What if you don’t have space for a garden?
Growing vegetables in containers is a great option if you have limited ground space for a traditional garden. Use pots with drainage holes and place them in a sunny location that receives 6+ hours of direct sun every day. The containers should be filled with a high quality potting soil mix that is fertile and drains well. Vegetables grow equally well in a container as the ground, but you may want to select small-sized varieties to keep the plants within certain boundaries.
How do you know what to grow?
Grow your family’s favorites, of course, but try something new and something fun – purple carrots, orange tomatoes! Also pick things that are ready for harvest at different times, to keep interest high and plates full; such as radishes for spring, beans in early summer, zucchini and tomatoes later on and pumpkin for season’s end.
Decide if you want to start with seeds (more time & challenge, but more learning opportunities and lower cost) or purchase plants (easier up-front and much less wait time until harvest).
Seeds or plants can be easily found at local garden centers or online. Use the packaging information provided, on spacing and yield, to determine how many plants can fit in your allotted space and fill your family’s appetite.
What if you need help?
Check the Plant Library to find detailed care information for vegetables or you can ask an expert in our Facebook Comments section below.