I don’t have a green thumb.
When it comes to living things in my life, if it doesn’t bark or cry, I almost always forget to water/feed/care for it, no matter how good my intentions. I’ve never really had a garden or even a house plant that has made it past a few weeks.
How to start a garden with kids
This year, however, my girls have been asking if we can have a garden. Or, at very least, try our hands at growing a few fruits and veggies. They have friends at school who talk about how much they love growing various fruits and veggies in their backyards.
So my youngest and I did some online research and then headed over to our local home and garden store to ask a few questions of the experts to determine which fruits, veggies and herbs might be fool-proof enough that even I would have a hard time messing up the growing process.
What to consider when starting a garden
Bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries were frequently recommended as fruits and veggies that really only required sunlight and water to successfully grow and produce. Basil and thyme were two of the herbs most commonly recommended as easy-to-grow for beginners. Peppers are an easy pick because they don’t take long to grow. We live in Texas, so we have to consider temperature. Cucumbers do well in the Texas summers.
Do your research before you begin planting
We roamed the aisles of our local garden store for a while, trying to determine which seeds or potted plants should make their way to the garden I was talked into growing in my backyard. After talking with a few employees, we decided to start with starter plants, as opposed to seeds, because it would give us an easier foundation to work with and, hopefully, a better chance at a successful harvest!
We read directions on as many of the potted plants as we could. My daughter loved pulling the information card out of each plant and determining how much sun a specific fruit or vegetable needed to grow and how long it would take to mature. Reading these cards helped us determine which veggies might work for for us.
Make the right gardening decision for your family
We decided to start off our garden with two veggies (because we can always grow more if we are successful with these!). We chose our plants based on what we thought we would use most at home. While an indoor herb garden had a certain appeal, I didn’t think we would use herbs very frequently in our family. We opted for tomatoes and cucumbers.
We have decided, for now, to grow our veggies in pots that we can easily move around because we have a fairly shady backyard and both of these vegetables require lots of sun. However, you can easily plant tomatoes and cucumbers in a raised or in-ground garden with a lot of sun exposure. As a bonus lesson in responsibility, I’ve tasked my girls with checking on and watering the plants frequently. This way, they can feel proud when (hopefully only when and not if) the fruits and veggies grow and they, too, can show off their homegrown fruits and veggies at school.
The bottom line for starting a garden
Our local garden store left us with this advice: When it comes to the majority of fruits and vegetables, there are four key ingredients to having a successful harvest. These are: full sun, consistent watering, regular fertilizing, and above all, healthy and porous soil. If you have these, you’re off to a great start to growing just about anything!