One of the most exciting parts of gardening is choosing what to grow. Most kids have limited tastes, so having some input is a good way to expand their palates. Seed catalogs provide great pictures and information for exploring possible choices. If you don’t have any catalogs, take a trip to the large Farmers Market. Allowing young gardeners to plant some of their own favorites is good for keeping their interest in the garden.
Peas can be planted in early March and produce food by May. At our house they seldom make it to the pan and are consumed as they are picked. Note to self: plant more peas. Carrots and cherry tomatoes are also a big hit. No room for tomatoes? Grow them in a 5 gallon bucket with a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Lettuce can be grown in a plastic shoe box – don’t forget about drainage. I have a small herb garden mixed in my flower bed, with a lettuce border.
Certain veggies can be started inside in small pots, empty yogurt containers or even egg cartons. Peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and eggplant are easy to start in the house. All you need is potting soil, water and a sunny window. Keep the containers watered.
In WNC our last frost date is usually May 10th. Read the seed package and count backwards to arrive at a planting time for your indoor starts. At the county Extension office we also carry information on growing vegetables, but just don’t limit your garden to veggies. Flowers also play a big part in a successful garden, drawing in bees and butterflies to help with pollination. Some flowers even repel “bad bugs”.
A $2.00 packet of seeds can go a long way to stretch a budget but the real reward is time spent in the garden with children.
By Nancy Good, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer