There are so many reasons to plant a home garden with your family. It’s a whole body, whole hearted experience that will leave you and your children feeling accomplished and satisfied as you literally see the fruit of your labor blossom out of the good green earth. It can however be overwhelming if you have not had the know how of starting a garden passed down by helpful family and friends. Let our garden guide get you and your family growing gardens and your relationships this spring!
Pick Your Plants
If you are a first time want to be farmer, it’s best to focus on one element at a time.
Easy to Grow Vegetables
Tomatoes: Plant these plump vegetables in a bright sun heavy spot. Water a heavy about every 5 days. Prune smaller branches so the plant will put its energy into larger more fruitful branches. Space out the timing of your plantings so your harvest will yield at different times, spreading out your tomato season over several weeks!
Cucumbers: Use your compost of other melons on the soil for cucumbers. Use dark sun absorbing mulch to create a warm and moist soil. Using mulch also helps keep weeds away.
Peppers: Peppers need a sunny home in the soil, that has been rotated with other vegetables. As always a good fertilizer will help ensure the rich nutrients needed to grow a luscious garden.
Flowers: Here is a list of flowers that are easy to grow for first time gardeners.
- Sweet Peas
- Morning glorys
Fruits: A lot of fruits are grown on trees. Planting trees can be more costly at first, but will yield fruit, shade, and a beautiful aesthetic to any yard. You can grow a few plant based fruits that are super tasty and fairly simple to get going!
- Rhubarb: You can start with seeds, but for the first timer you will have great success with budded plants. Rhubarb plants are low maintenance but will yield a better harvest if given extra attention. Keep them moist and trim or divide every 5 years.
- Strawberries: Plant them in a sunny spot as they need about 8 hours of sun a day. Space them 12″-18″ apart. These are a favorite of small animals so read our tips below to keep them safe from critters!
- Rasberries: Fairly resilient and perennial these bushes will be a great addition to your garden. They do best if you make a bed and keep the roots up and protected. Plant them in the spring for best success.
*Note having your soil tested will help determine if it is safe to gardening your soil
Depending on the size of your yard, and current collection of tools, needs will vary. These tools listed below will help you get off to a good start.
- Small shovel
- Large Rake
- Hand clipper
Garden tools for Kids
Duck Worth Wearing carries a great line of toys by Melissa and Doug. There are a number of outdoor and well built toys, but they also feature an outstanding line of garden toys. All are available now or by order at Duck Worth Wearing in Ames, IA.
Blossom Bright Kids’ Gardening Tote Set
With this kid-friendly garden tote, complete with tools, getting help in the garden just got easier! The plastic tools are just right for little helpers and easy to keep organized in this durable fabric tote with sturdy woven handles.
Cultivate more fun in the garden with this durable, child-size metal garden tool. Happy Giddy’s funny face and bright colors on the easy-clean handle will make gardening activities exciting!
Your child will be waiting for the leaves to fall so that raking fun can begin! Child-size metal rake has a brightly painted wooden shaft and an easy-clean handle.
Plan Out Your Garden
Starting small is always best as its easy to expand in future years once you have your basics.
Plan space for your in-ground gardens to allow or watering, weeding and harvest time.
A good size would be 50-100 sqft with either an in ground, fenced in garden, or a potting box that is raised off the ground and keeps animals away. Don’t have a large back yard or are currently renting? No problem – use colorful pots plated with your favorite flowers to get your green thumb warmed up.
You need 6-8 hours of good sun a day for most plants.
Maintenance and Harvesting
The beauty of a garden is that you put a lot of work in the planting and care, and if all goes well you will reap a beautiful harvest. The goal is to keep an eye on your garden by weeding frequently, watering, and keeping away the pests.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor!