Buzz into spring with a green, growing garden! The warm temperatures and bright, spring sunshine make for the perfect time to start your own garden! Get excited about planting a garden to enjoy the beauty of colorful flowers and taste of homegrown herbs, fruits, and vegetables all summer long!
Invite kids to join in on the gardening fun! Gardening can benefit children’s health, introduce them to new produce, and give children a sense of accomplishment in seeing their garden turn into a bountiful harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to get some outdoor family time! Some fun and easy ways they can help in the garden include digging holes for the seeds, watering the plants, and harvesting herbs, fruits, or vegetables once they’re ready. It may be helpful to have child-sized gardening tools and gloves on hand, so they can be a part of the experience too! By being more involved in the process of growing their own food, they will be more inclined to taste the fruits and vegetables they helped grow!
Listed below are three main steps to help you get started and growing with your own fruit and vegetable garden at home:
- Planning: Before you start planting in the garden, there are two factors to consider.
- Amount of space: Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and green peppers can grow in a relatively small space, while other produce, such as summer squash, beans, and melons need much more room for its roots to spread out. Be sure to do your research to learn the space needed for your plant. In addition, choose a garden space that receives ample sunlight during the day for your seeds to grow!
- Type of plants to grow: When considering what you want to plant in your garden, think about your family’s favorite fruits and vegetables. For example, if you are growing a vegetable garden, it may be easier to plant a couple of vegetables you eat most often to supplement the produce you purchase at the grocery store or farmers market. Some crops that are best grown in April include various types of lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, and peas.
- Preparing: Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to head outdoors and prepare your garden! It is important to ensure your garden has ideal soil conditions for your plants to grow. For best growing conditions, loosen your soil with a gardening tool and add some kind of organic matter such as compost, leaves, or grass clippings to provide nutrients to the soil and help absorb water. Your soil should be damp, but not too wet.
- Planting: When you begin planting, be sure to consider soil depth and spacing of your plants or seeds. A general rule is to plant seeds at a depth twice their diameter and two inches apart in a row. As a reminder, don’t forget to regularly water, fertilize, and harvest your garden! With some water and sunlight, you will have a bountiful garden in no time to help fill your plate with colors and nutrients all summer long.
A flower garden can also be a great addition to your home garden. Flowers add a vibrant, visual appeal to your garden and can attract pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies that can help your crops grow. Tulips, daffodils, and marigolds are just a few examples of flowers that are best grown during the spring time!
Another option to consider is growing an herb garden, since they are easy to grow and maintain! Herbs such parsley, rosemary, basil, and mint are just a few examples! Rosemary and parsley can be added as a garnish to dishes, while basil can be made into a green pesto sauce. Mint is also a great way to add a unique flavor to fruit-infused water. Check out this recipe from Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health for making your own homemade pesto from various herbs and greens!
For advice to grow by, check out your local master gardener program for tips on what grows well in your region and when! To find your local program and garden resources, visit the UC Master Gardener website.
Visit the National Gardening Association website for more detailed instructions and tips on growing a vegetable garden.