3 Gardening tips for the WAY Beginner

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so ready for April Showers and May Flowers.

My favorite activity with the kids is to plant our summer garden. Let me confess, though: I have almost no gardening experience whatsoever.

My family always had a garden growing up. We kids used to be spiteful of the sheer quantity of zucchini that my Dad would grow. And it was in everything: zucchini bread, zucchini parm, zucchini in chili. I’m sure it was hidden in other things too. Torturing us. I managed to escape childhood still loving zucchini and set out a few years ago to try out torturing my own kids growing a garden on my own.

Here are my 3 Gardening tips for the WAY Beginner.

Start small

I bet you dream of having one of those beautiful raised beds from Good Housekeeping where all of the fruits and veggies look like something from a mystical, organic fantasy land. You envision daily heaping basketfuls of produce that you proudly bring into your home where your family eagerly awaits an exciting veggie snack.

Let’s be real though… At this point, you aren’t even sure yet if you LIKE gardening. Investing in a 12 foot x 8 foot raised garden bed, filling it with soil, and installing a timered drip irrigation system might be a little overkill for the newbie.

My suggestion is to do one summer with potted veggies to see if you can commit to something bigger. Plants like tomatoes and herbs grow very well in pots. Choose three to five different plants and put them out on your patio or deck. See how it goes this year. If you enjoy it, move up to the next level…. slowly.

Purchase Already Started Plants

You’ll be able to find started plants at any home improvement store or local nursery. These are plants that are already 5-10 inches tall.  If you are wanting to start from seeds, there is a lot more effort needed than just planting them outside in order to get a great output. Purchasing started plants will get your garden together faster, which means getting a result faster. Choose one plant of each veggie you are planning to grow. If you have more than one of each plant, you may find yourself begging neighbors to take your extra zucchini (like we did).

Engage the Kids

You have probably heard it before, but it definitely rings true in this case too. If you engage your child in cooking something, she is more likely to try the food. Same thing goes for planting. Your child will take ownership of these crops and will be proud as they grow and become strong. Teach her how important farms and farming are. Teach him that the fruits of his labor can fill his belly and boost his confidence. Buy him a kid sized watering can and spade. Let her get her hands in the dirt. Remind them at the dinner table that their hard work provided for the family and they should be proud of it.

Hopefully you are feeling a little more confident that you can start your own gardening adventure with your family. It’s very rewarding to be able to walk into the backyard to grab some lettuce and a tomato for your sandwich or tacos. It makes me smile every time.

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I was absolutely amazed at how productive my Marketmore Cucumber plant was (seeds from SeedsNow). Several neighbors enjoyed some tasty salads with the fruits of that plant. I also loved the Black Beauty Zucchini Squash from SeedsNow. While several neighbors saw their zucchini plants die of a fungal disease, mine produced very well.

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