We are stuck at home. What to do? One of the more fun and educational things you can do with your kids is to grow vegetables at home. Nothing is better than eating fresh produce which you yourself have grown. Just think of how fascinating it will be to see fresh, vibrant young plants sprouting up from seeds you yourself have planted. Then you nurture these plants as they mature into produce fit for your family’s table.
We first need to decide where to start our little truck farm. A sunny spot in your backyard would be ideal. If you don’t have that, you can grow veggies in containers on your patio or deck. You can grow a little herb garden in decorative pots in your kitchen window sill or on a deck railing. Start with a manageable garden, a small one, and grow its size over time as you feel the need and the capabilities to expand.
You can find many websites that offer extensive advice on beginning a vegetable garden. Here are several of them:
You can find popular vegetable seeds in many grocery stores. However, I really get my kicks from reading colorful seed company catalogues and their web sites. In front of me right now is the catalogue from a seed company I have been dealing with since the early 1970’s: William Dam Seeds. I used to love planning my summer’s garden while sitting in front of the fireplace, with winter snows deep on the ground.
This is an excellent family-owned seed company which has been in business for over 70 years. However, there are many others to be found in both Canada and the U.S. As in many things, Google is your friend here.
Many vegetable seeds can be planted outside as soon as the soil can be worked: spinach, lettuce, radishes, green onions, carrots, peas, etc. Beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, melons, etc., cannot handle frost, and can only be successfully grown outside after the frost-free date. Many of these can be started earlier inside the house in peat pellets or pots.
You can mix your vegetables in with your flowers too. In fact “companion planting” is one effective way of combating certain insects and plant diseases.
Growing your own vegetables can, and perhaps ought to be, a full family activity so every one learns and enjoys the pleasure of gardening. Nothing can get you closer to Mother Earth and your own environment. It makes life an ongoing, never ending series of teachable moments. Without realizing it, you and your children will experience biology, botany, chemistry, mathematics, project management and culinary adventures. And you even get to play in the dirt!