“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”
― Claude Monet
One of my favorite things to do with my family and for my family is gardening. For me, it is a great way to get some fresh air, a little exercise, and provide a cheap, healthy source of food for my family. It’s also a great way to teach kids about where food comes from. Kids of all ages can benefit from gardening. Older kids can learn the specifics of how everything works. Babies will enjoy being outside and taking in the scenery.
Planning my garden and ordering seeds gets me through the winter months that can be somewhat depressing. I mean, have you ever looked through a seed catalog? They’re so pretty! When I’m feeling down a colorful seed catalog seems to be the best therapy when things are brown outside.
Spring is the perfect time of year to think about planting a garden. If you aren’t sure where to start, look up “University Extension” in your area. Local universities often have the best information when it comes to what thrives the most where you are. Local plant nurseries are also a wealth of knowledge.
If you’re short on time, space, or knowledge a container garden is a nice place to start. You can start with as little as one pot on your patio or balcony. Tomatoes are common in container gardens. I also enjoy a small, indoor herb garden. Fresh herbs are a delight to have on hand for cooking. Plant the herbs that you use the most often in your cooking. For me, that’s basil, cilantro, and sometimes dill. Houseplants are another way to bring your garden indoors and a great way to add clean air and natural humidity to your home.
Have more veggies than you can eat?
- Learn to can. You can enjoy your bounty during the cold winter months. All you need is a canning pot, jars, and lids. These supplies can be used for years to come.
- Give to your neighbors. You’ll be the most popular family in the neighborhood!
- Donate to a local food pantry. Call ahead for their policies.
- Freeze or dehydrate them.
How to save even more money
- Save your seeds. Take the seeds from one of your ripened vegetables. Let them dry out on a plate. Store them in a dry place. Now you have seeds for next year’s garden!
- Start your own seeds. Early spring is a great time to do so! Just read the instructions on the back of each seed packet to see whether they need to be started indoors, or if you sow them directly outdoors. Even different varieties of the same vegetable may start differently.
Don’t be afraid to try new things every year! We planted a blackberry bush one year. The following year it was enormous. Picking blackberries became one of my youngest son’s favorite outdoor activities. He learned which berries were ripe and which weren’t.
So get outside and get a little dirty! Remember hats and sunscreen. Whether you plant flowers, vegetables, or fruit, gardening is a great family activity.
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