Last Saturday we spent the entire day building a family garden. We had a few grumbles underneath the kids’ breath, but all in all I think it was rather successful and I’m looking forward to seeing all the fresh fruits and vegetables it will yield come Spring and Summer.
A few people have told me just how difficult they feel it would be for their family to build and maintain a garden. Other people have told me they really just don’t know where to even begin gardening with their kids. So, today I’m giving you 5 easy steps you can take to build your family garden. No. Really. They are SUPER EASY.
When we, first, moved into this house we maintained a garden in the backyard. We actually inherited the spot from my in-laws. They retired out to the Waco area and we purchased the home from them. They had an impressive garden that they built and loved for many years. We couldn’t just let it go to waste. So, we did the same for about two years. We. Loved. It.
My poor garden was was begging for some attention. A photo posted by Sara Patterson (@socialnewssara) on
Unfortunately, my new job took all my time and energy from maintaining a garden. So, we pulled it apart and let grass grow. It was a sad day.
Now that I’m home full-time again we thought we would resurrect it, but this time we would engage the kids. We want this to be a family garden… a garden the kids’ can look at tell themselves, “Hey. I helped grow those vegetables we’re eating tonight for dinner.” We prayed over our garden and our hope is that it will help us bless others too.
As usual, I posted my proud pictures on social media and I was flooded with questions on how one even BEGINS to build a garden.
I believe anyone can have a garden and I’ll show you how in 5 easy steps.
1. Measure the area you’d like your garden to be located: We have a reasonably sized yard and decided we would have four rows of eight plants. Make sure you use either landscaping rocks, bricks, or boards to frame it. We had old rail road ties my father-in-law got from SOMEWHERE. They work great to frame our garden.
2. Draw out a plan: You’ve got to know where you want your plants within the garden. It’s best to have a visual that you can go back to during the building process. We gave this job to my 12-yr-old who took it pretty serious. Tip: We’ve found planting peppers in between tomatoes works great. Keep squash, cucumbers, and zucchini together. This is our first year with strawberries. So, we’ll let you know.
3. Till it up: Now comes the hard part. Daddy took care of this. He bought an inexpensive attachment for the weed-eater, but if you have an actual tiller that’s even better. I’m thinking he may be getting one for his birthday!
4. Planting and fertilizing: My 8-yr-old and I were in charge of digging the holes with hand shovels. He poured in the osmocote before we inserted each plant. It’s important to buy small plants as opposed to seeds. We’ve planted seeds before and they just didn’t grow or the plant wasn’t very fruitful. A small spoonful of Osmocote Flower and Vegetable Plant Food before each plant is packed in will do the trick. It’s so easy an 8-yr-old can do it.
5. Make it your own: It’s easy to lose track of what you planted and where it’s located in the early stages of growth. My husband mentioned he wanted to make signs this year and he gave that job to my 11-yr-old daughter. We bought stakes and slates of wood at Hobby Lobby along with some inexpensive permanent paint. She used her brother’s drawing above to name each sign and now we know where everything is placed. I think it gives it character. What about you?
Tip: Gardening is not for the faint of heart. Looking ahead we’ll be doing a LOT of watering and a LOT of weed pulling. That’s one thing about the Osmocote. Veggies LOVE it, but so do the weeds. You might want to invest in a good sprinkler and garden gloves for the whole family. I’ll be assigning “weed pulling” as part of the kids’ regular chores and they’ll need gloves to protect their hands.
Also… gardening is different for everyone. What works for you may not work for me depending on what kind of climate you’re in or the type of soil you’re dealing with in your yard. We know tomatoes and peppers grow well here in Southeast Texas. We’ve also had great luck with cucumbers and squash. My daughter and I are going to plan out an herb garden as well. So, stay tuned for our herb-gardening adventures.
Are you are gardening pro? Have tips for families? Leave them in the comment section.
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