What's a better place to grow memories than in a garden? Not only is spending time outside healthy for you, but it's a great way to get the kids away from the TV this summer. By starting a home garden or working at a community garden, you can spend quality time with your kids and start an ongoing conversation about healthy food and where it comes from!
Design your garden: It may seem fun and exciting to dig up a huge plot of the backyard, but this can quickly turn into a chore instead of a fun activity for the family. Decide if you're going to put it right on the ground. If so, you'll probably need a tiller to break up the compacted earth.
You could also create a raised garden. This involves creating a framed structure over the ground and putting about 9 inches of top soil (or two feet if you're doing it over concrete). Your frame should be made of rot-resistant wood, concrete blocks or recycled plastic. This may seem like a lot of work, but in the long run, a raised garden is easier to work with than a ground garden because there's less toxins, less weeds and it's easier to cultivate.
If you don't have a lot of green space available, use clay or wood pots. You could even use old plastic buckets or even a bathtub; just make sure there are holes for drainage. Plants aren't too fussy, they'll grow in almost anything with the right care.
Get started: Start by weeding and getting rid of the grass where your garden will be. Then it's time to fix up your soil. You'll either need to bring in topsoil or amend the existing soil. Be sure you're choosing something rich with organic matter. You'll also want a garden that drains well. These two things are vital to growing healthy, pest-resistant plants!
After you've actually laid out your garden, it's time to get to work. Either buy seeds or buy flowers from your local garden store to put in the garden. When gardening with kids, you may find it more rewarding and educating to start with seeds. That way, you can teach them how things grow. Plus, when their plants start to grow, it'll help to maintain the excitement of the garden.
Maintain and sustain: Make it clear to the kids that this garden is part of their responsibilities, not just yours. They'll need to check on their plants and water them almost every day. Pick out a time of day, maybe right after dinner, that you and the kids weed and water the garden. Not only will they be learning about how things grow, but they will also learn to be responsible and care for something!
Do you garden with your kids? Share your secrets to success with us in the comments below!