Family Gardening Made Easy

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Having a family garden is one of those things that makes so much sense, it is hard to understand why so many of us don’t ever get around to growing one. I mean, really. Free food? Connecting work ethic to earned reward? Completely organic, and extremely fresh produce? The benefits are very compelling!

But many families, especially in urban areas, don’t ever get around to growing one, and that leads me to wonder why. I know that for myself, and several of my friends and their families the top reasons are mostly time and space. Not in a quantum sense, but in an “I don’t have enough of either” sense.

However, this summer I accidentally ended up with a small family garden, and I have been beyond thrilled with the results. I say accidentally, because it was through several people helping me out that it happened. My babysitter gifted me with three plants, and another friend planted them as a surprise to me. All I did was water them once a day in the evening. And now I’m up to my ears in zucchini and cucumbers, with an avalanche of tomatoes threatening to fall any day.

Not everyone will have a garden magically appear. But if you’d like one, and your main concerns are “My apartment is too small”, or “I travel a lot”, I’ve done some research and found you some resources. You’re welcome.

First, decide where you can grow plants. Windowsills, fire escapes, steps, bannisters, counters, patios, and balconies are all viable options.

Second, decide which of these spots are most convenient for you to access, and which get the most sunlight. These will be the spaces that you can put a simple little potted garden.

Third, depending on the size of the space you will be able to gauge the size of pots you can use. The size of pot will determine which plants you can grow in it. Some plants like carrots, onions, lettuce, and radishes don’t need that much dirt. While some plants, like potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli need a lot more.

Fourth, plants that have already started growing are much easier to keep alive than growing them from the seed. Whenever you can, get already growing seedlings from gardening stores or friends. Once a plant has developed a root system it is much hardier, so you can forget to water it every once in a while, and it will be okay.

Fifth, set a daily alarm to remind you to water your plants. There’s no need to drench them too heavily but getting the dirt, and even the leaves, wet every day will keep them healthy and nourished.

Lastly, you can involve your kids by letting them take turns watering and planting. This direct involvement with gardening can be helpful for kids. Growing their own veggies will make them much more likely to give them a try after they are harvested. Also, seeing their daily efforts pay off can end up being a very valuable life lesson. So, take a chance, and dive on in! Getting a family garden growing is really worth it.
Family Gardening Made Easy
-Naomi Tripi


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