With spring just around the corner, it's time to think about your home garden; but before you think about doing all that work yourself, consider getting the kids involved. There are many lessons to be learned with a shovel and some dirt! Gardening is a great way to spend time outside, learn basic plant science, and have loads of family fun.
March and April are typically the best months to begin planning the garden and to start seedlings indoors so they can be ready for transplanting once the frost and cooler nights have passed. Follow these 3 simple steps to create a prosperous garden:
The 3 P’s of gardening Planning, Preparation and Planting.
Step 1 Planning
If your goal is a lush garden full of delicious fruits and vegetables this summer, you must ensure your plants have the best possible growing environment. The best way to accomplish this is with a little pre-planning.
The two most important factors to consider are space and variety. Some of the fruits, veggies or herbs you may want to plant can be grown in a small space (e.g. tomatoes, potatoes, and onions), where others require several feet to spread out and grow (e.g. peas, beans, and squash). So before you plant, you should decide on how big or how small you want your garden to be and consult the planting guide for each of the varieties to determine how much space is needed.
Step 2 Preparation
Now that you have a fool proof plan in place, it is time to start digging into your garden. Loosen soil with a rake or shovel and add compost, manure or other organic material to the existing soil. Ideally, you want to loosen 12 to 18 inches of soil and depending on its condition, you may also need to add water and let it soak in for a day or two. The soil should be damp but not wet, and you will want to mix in 4 to 6 inches of other organic material.
Step 3 Planting
Hooray… it is time to start planting! Be sure to follow your planting guides for depth and spacing instructions so that now with little effort, you can easily maintain your crops and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Growing a home garden can be a great family activity that can benefit everyone’s health and well-being. It is an excellent opportunity for children to learn about the environment, food and nutrition, and well as giving them a sense of pride and accomplishment while introducing them to healthy foods.
From helping you pull weeds, water and harvest, gardening offers a great opportunity for kids to form engaging connections to science, math and nutrition as they grow.
For more great gardening projects kids will love, check out this article on Parenting.com
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