Interest in gardening in general is expected this time of year. However, according to the National Gardening Association, food gardening is at its highest level in more than a decade. What a great topic to take interest in! As today’s food becomes more processed and we become more online than offline, gardening is a fantastic way to unplug from your computer and plug in with your kids. Gardening not only supplies your family with delicious fruits and vegetables that are better quality and better tasting, it’s a visual way of showing your children the benefits of hard work. They can literally watch their work transform from seedling to dinner.
The first step is to plan your garden. Start by analyzing your gardening area. Are you “urban gardening” in a multi-family complex or the backyard of a house? What level of sunlight do you have – shaded, partial or full sun? Be realistic: how often will you be watering the garden? It’s a step that’s easily forgotten throughout the chaos of the day. Some plants need less watering than others and if you’re worried about watering frequency, you’ll need to take this into consideration. On May 14, UGA has a great class on backyard gardening.
Soil and Compost
This is where you get to take advantage of a kid’s love for dirt. It’s very important to make sure you have the proper soil for your plants. Improper draining (does the plant need a faster draining soil or a water retention based one?)and nutrients will at best keep them alive, producing vegetation is unlikely. If you’re wanting to wait to start your garden until school ends, this workshop through UGA (on May 21st) explains the importance of soil choice.
Get out your cute garden gloves and plop those seedlings in the ground. Again, make sure to follow your research down to how far each type of plant should be planted. Assign your children a task such as weeding, watering and fertilizing. If they want to have a fun back-to-school presentation, take pictures at the same time each week so they can make a scrapbook to show their friends at school. Or better yet, take some fresh veggies to class.