How to Start a Family Vegetable Garden this Spring

by , 03/20/14

Starting your own family garden is easy, and it’s a wonderful way to time with your kids outside planning, planting, tending, and enjoying the benefits of your garden. Whether you have a big backyard, several containers on your apartment terrace or a plot in your community garden, the garden you grow together will yield more than fresh vegetables for dinner — you’ll reap lots of special moments and photo opportunities with your kids, too. As you decide what to plant and while you dig holes for the seeds, you can teach your kids lessons about why plants are important and how they grow. Your kids will love watching the garden grow from seeds and dirt into full, lush plants, and finally dinner for the whole family! Follow our five steps and you’ll have a garden worth showing off in no time.

1. Stock Up On Supplies

To start your garden you’ll need some basic supplies — shovels, rakes, hoes, gardening gloves and gardening gloves. Depending on the type of garden you choose you may also need soil and pots. If you’re crafty, you can make your own watering can from an old milk jug using our easy how-to instructions. To get kids extra excited for all of the gardening ahead, also choose a few supplies sized just for them. Even a kid-friendly gardening book may help your child take a greater interest in the project.

Image © Niño meditabundo

2. Find a Location

If you have a big backyard, finding a patch to dedicate to a garden may be easy, but you don’t have to live in the burbs to have a garden. If you only have a small or shared backyard even a tiny patch of earth is enough to start your family’s first garden. Or go for a container garden by gathering several large terra cotta pots and designating each one for a different vegetable. No outdoor space for containers either? Find a community garden where you can secure a small plot of land for you and your family to visit and tend to every weekend. Once you do find the perfect spot for your family garden be sure to take a “before” photo of the space — your kids will love comparing the finished, blooming, in a few days, weeks, and months to watch how the garden grows.

3. Pick Your Plants

To ensure your garden is successful and your plants thrive, you’ll want to choose the right seeds for your location. Luckily, the seed-selling vendors at your neighborhood farmer’s market and gardening center will be able to offer advice on which vegetables will grow best in the local climate and the type of garden you’re creating. Before you go to purchase seeds, do some planning. Monitor the space you’ve set aside to see how much sun and shade it gets throughout the day. You might even want to bring a photo of the space when you go shopping so you can show the experts exactly what you’re working with. Also, think about what types of vegetables your family enjoys eating, and how much work you can put into your garden. Tomatoes, radishes, green beans, and sweet peppers are typically easy to grow, while cauliflower and corn can be more of a challenge. And while you can certainly start from seeds, there’s no harm in buying a few pre-grown seedlings to speed up the process. If your child picks a favorite plant that she’s particularly excited about, take a photo of her with her seed packet, and later capture a video of her planting her special pick.

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12 Responses to “How to Start a Family Vegetable Garden this Spring”

  1. Jasmin Malik Chua says:

    I’ll have to try this with my munchkin!

  2. Kestrel Jenkins says:

    This looks like a blast!! I’m going to have to get digging in the backyard!

  3. Yuka Yoneda says:

    I don’t have a kid but I’ll def try this with my cats!

  4. Brit says:

    When I was a kid we ALWAYS had a huge vegetable garden and I think it contributed to my non-picky-eaterness. I love all foods, especially those I can pick and eat right out of the ground, all kids should have that experience!

  5. jessicadailey says:

    We always had a family garden when I was growing up — so much fun for kids and adults!

  6. Andrew Michler says:

    We’ll be planting a vegetable garden this year… for the deer. They requested lettuce.

  7. Rebecca Paul says:

    I have wonderful memories of gardening with my dad in the summertime. I now have my own garden and definitely have him to thank for that.

  8. Mike says:

    I love gardening – just wish I had more space to do it in! Time to start that indoor window farm…

  9. Kevin says:

    There’s nothing quite like making dinner with veggies you’ve grown with your family.

  10. Julie Knapp says:

    A great way to get kids excited about eating green too!

  11. Jennifer Chait says:

    An eco-friendly/money saving point to add – if you only have room for a tiny garden, grow something organic that you eat all the time. For example, we eat a ton of bell peppers at my house, which are SUPER expensive in organic form. Growing just a big pot of peppers can save us a bundle. So, if you’re conflicted about what to grow, aim for growing the most expensive organics from the store because it’s a great way to save money.

  12. Beth Shea says:

    Great article! My daughter LOVES being outdoors, watering plants and gardening- which plants the metaphorical seeds of taking care of our earth and realizing the work farmers do to grow our food. I think kids are more apt to eat the veggies they helped grow as well!

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