Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gardening: What do I need to know?

Every year I say that the kids and I are going to start a garden, even just a small one, and every year it doesn't seem to happen. Why is that?

I don't plan on turning our yard into a farm, but I know that the girls would be interested in helping plant and grow (and eat) their own vegetables. So what is it that seems to always stand in our way?

Mainly time, of course, but I do have to admit that when I think of a garden, I think of putting some seeds in the ground and making sure that they're watered. But then I read articles about hydroponics and aeroponics and see pictures of other families using growing lights and special food... and I get a little intimidated.

I want to just toss a few little green plants in the ground, pull out some weeds now and again and end up with something like this:

Maybe I just have a skewed idea of what gardening entails and it is much more of a time commitment than I think it is. Am I wrong? Do you garden with your kids? How much time does it really take?


Talina said...

You need to pick the right plants for your needs!

My personal favorite is perennial berry bushes! They don't need much maintenance, they come back year after year, there are varieties that survive well in most areas and they'll get you off to a successful start.

Tomatoes and other annual plants are pretty susceptible to pests, they need to be planted at the proper time and then they just die at the end of the year.

Think about the time you want to invest over the long term and what you want to get in return. Start small and build on your work each year. The first step is just diving in.

I'd be happy to give tips when you pick a plant or two to start with :)

The Studio said...

I garden alot. I live in the desert and have tried lots of different plants. I find that growing tomatoes in the hanging tomato kits is easiest for beginners. You can purchase them at many of the big box stores. Same with the hanging strawberries.
For inside year round, I would suggest getting one of the herb garden kits. They come with potting mix, seeds, and pots. Those are just the easiest things I can recommend. If you want some fun things to do with the kids and gardening, they have what is called a root vue kit you can look it up on amazon. It allows the kids to plant some veggies, and then remove the side covers to see the roots below and how the seeds grow. Again, start small. Do let us know how it goes.

The Studio said...

Oh forgot to mention, gardening is not hard, or take a lot of time if you take it slow and easy. Start with something you know the kids will enjoy helping with and eating. Containers are the easiest for kids and allow for moving plants in and out of doors if needed...again...I am posting family gardening info on if you want to see more.

Unknown said...

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About your post - I LOVE to garden and if I can garden on my 6'x22' balcony on the 15th floor of an apartment building in NYC, you can too!! I would start with some easier, tried-and-true plants - my favorites that I have great success with are: Basil, raddishes, carrots, peppers (all varieties!) sweet peas(need to have a low trellis or fence to climb up - I make mine with bamboo sticks and twine), green beans, cilantro, rosemary (doesn't require as much watering), zucchini and cucumbers. If you have a hot, sunny garden, you'll need to water frequently, in the morning is best with a sprinkler or use some soaker hose that you burry slightly into the soil (very successful method that is better for the roots of the plants). Oh, and to help minimize bugs, plant marrigolds, lemon mint or verbena and geraniums between your veggies! Happy Gardening!!

MIG said...

I know nothing about gardening. Lol! But I would like to learn. I think hydroponic gardening seems really cool. I wonder if each type of gardening makes the food taste different. I'll have to try some gardening and see for myself.

Erin said...

Although my daughter is still a little young to really help, we started with herbs last year and added tomatoes this year. We did not start from seeds, but from baby plants picked up at Home Depot or the Farmer's Market. I'm not sure rosemary can be killed (at least in my climate), basil takes a lot to kill (but did in the winter), but the tomatoes are a bit of a challenge. They require a LOT of water, and within a few short days were almost demolished by 3 tomato hornworms (which are a variety of caterpillar). The hornworms feed on aphids, so if you do tomatoes, GET LADYBUGS. My next venture will be broccoli.

catnap said...

Try this for some beginner's tips:
This website in general has lots of good advice. Start with just a few plants that you really like and read everything you can about those few plants to increase your chances of success. Once you become adept that those plants, add a few more each year. Very rewarding hobby, and healthy since you can make it organic.

Scented Leaf said...

I love gardening... is such a rewarding hobby. And the kids are happy to plant different seeds / seedlings themselves and to watch them growing.
You may start with some scented pelargoniums (geraniums)... "Edible, fragrant, very useful, showy, flowering, drought resistant and little care" - I'm sure that once you'll start, you'll easily love them. (Our kids love to pick small flowers with different scents from them to flavor their milk, maybe your girls will be delighted, too...)

Citizen Reader said...

Skip the gardening dear, it's a big waste of time unless you're REALLY interested. Plant some perennials or bulbs around your yard so the kids can watch them bloom in the spring, stick a couple of tomato plants anywhere you've got a few feet of bare dirt, and call it a day. Then find a friend with a huge garden and offer to exchange some weeding/puttering time for a bit of free produce, or go to the farmer's market, get a few veggies, and then get a baked good and coffee to walk around with like civilized people.