There are so many reasons I love summer but one of the big ones is our vegetable garden. A couple of years ago we decided to plant a small garden in our backyard as a fun project for the kids. The kids loved picking out we should grow and enjoyed checking on it each day and giving it some tlc. Since that first trial garden we have made it a family project each year. We enjoy being able to go out into the backyard and pick some fresh veggies/herbs to add to our dinner or just as a mid-play snack. Nothing beats the taste of fresh veggies from your garden.
Now I will say that for us it was trial and error on what grows well and what doesn’t. Although a watermelon sounds like a great idea, it takes up a lot of space as we quickly learned. Last year our daughter brought home a pumpkin seed that we planted in the garden with little expectation but boy were we wrong. That thing grew and grew and tried to take over our backyard and weworried that it might entangle the children. Come Halloween we did end up carving that pumpkin we grew into a Jack-o-lantern which was very cool!
When pumpkins attack!
We have had great luck with other veggies and each year we grow some awesome tomatoes, cucumber, peas, beans, strawberries, green onions, basil, thyme, and hot peppers.You can grow from seed but we never remember early enough so we generally buy the starter plants from Home Depot, Terra Greenhouses, Superstore Garden Centre and local nurseries. I watch the flyers and buy them on sale to keep the costs down.
What you’ll need:
Planting soil, seeds/plants, gardening gloves, pots (If container planting or starting from seed), small shovel, Miracle Gro, sunshine, water and of course some patience for the wee ones.
It’s as easy as digging a whole in the prepared dirt of your garden and/or pot and placing the plant in. Be sure to repack dirt around the base of the plant and press firmly to make sure it is secure. Be sure to read the tags that come with the plants/seeds so you understand how much space each plant will need to grow. Space plants appropriately in the garden before actually planting them. I love Miracle Gro and swear it is the only reason that this non green-thumb has a successful garden each year. Once all plants are planted, be sure to give them a good watering with Miracle Gro to give them a good start. Be sure your garden is in good sunlight and gets lots of water on a daily basis. You really can’t go wrong and trust me when I say that your kids will love watching their garden grow and love eating it even more.
Don’t think you have the space to grow your own veggies? Think again! The best thing about growing a garden is you don’t need a ton of space. We built a 4’x4′ box out of 2x4s to raise the garden up and to keep little hungry critters out. It is amazing how much yumminess comes out of this little space.
We also do some container planting which is great if you have little space. Container planting is also great if your little ones want to sample throughout the day. Place the containers where they can easily get at them without having to climb through your garden. Generally, we plant cherry tomatoes and strawberries in our containers as these are loved snacks for our kids.
Now I know that not everyone has the time or want to grow their own veggies so thankfully there are an abundance of Farmer’s Markets in Ontario. To find one near you click here