Are you looking for a great way to spend some quality time with your family while doing something healthy this summer? Consider planting a garden! Gardens offer many wonderful opportunities for families to bond as they plan, plant, tend to, and harvest the vegetables they grow.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider, if you want to pursue this fun activity.
1. The Location
Do you have a small space in your yard that gets at least five hours of sun per day where you can plant a garden? If so, you have it easy. Otherwise you might need to consider container gardening or looking into renting space in a community garden. If you are interested in a community garden, visit http://milwaukee.uwex.edu/agriculture/garden-rental/.
To prepare a space in your yard for a garden, it’s best to cover the region you are targeting with a tarp for five to seven days to safely kill the grass. Then, using a shovel, you can take off this top layer of dead grass, turn the soil, and be on your way to creating a garden.
Do you have a shovel, hand trowel, hoe, watering can or hose, and small fence to keep animals out? If not, you will need to purchase these items, along with your plants or seeds. If you are container gardening, you will also need to purchase containers with good drainage as well as potting soil.
3. Picking Your Vegetables
As a family, discuss what vegetables you enjoy eating most and what you would like to grow in your garden. Make sure you pick vegetables that are the appropriate size for your garden. For example, pumpkins, cucumbers, and zucchini require lots of space. You will also need to consider how much sunlight your garden is exposed to each day. Plants that tend to grow easily include: tomatoes, beans, spinach, and lettuce.
4. Planting Your Garden
Work together as a family to plant your garden. Nothing beats digging in the dirt together, planting the seeds, watering them, and watching them grow! Be sure to label each row of seeds you plant, so you know where to watch for plants to sprout and also where to weed.
5. Caring For Your Garden
Work together with your children as you water your plants, monitor your vegetables’ growth, weed, and harvest your garden. Read books about gardening to help maintain their interest, and make plans together on how you will eat the vegetables you grow. Harvest the vegetables together, and celebrate the fact that you are eating vegetables you have grown!