How to Plant a Family Garden

There’s just something wonderful about eating something that you planted from a tiny seedling, watched, watered, and harvested yourself. It just tastes better! This spring, why not make one little spot in your backyard a combination science lab, grocery store, and miracle observation station? That’s right—plant a family garden!

Our advice for first timers is to start small and expand as you gain experience and time allows. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Consider a raised bed or container garden.

“Raised bed” sounds fancy, but it’s just a wooden box with no bottom that sits on the ground and holds your garden soil and plants. It makes gardening easy because you can add soil that’s super rich, and your plants are somewhat protected from weeds and temperature fluctuations. You can buy a small one like this at your local garden center that assembles in no time, or you can build your own.

2. Go for full sun exposure.

Most vegetables, fruits, and herbs grow best in full sun, so choose a spot for your garden that gets sunlight almost all day. Also, to make things easier, consider how you’ll water your garden when choosing a location. Closer to a hose or faucet is better than farther away.

3. Soil quality matters.

Don’t just dig up any old dirt and throw it in your box. Great veggies are grown in rich, dark, moist soil full of nutrients and organic matter. You can buy bags of garden soil to fill a small container, or use them to enrich soil from another source.

4. Find out what grows best in your zone and when to plant.

As you might guess, the best garden plan and schedule for Michigan will differ from the best plan for Alabama. Check out the American Horticultural Society* to find out which zone you live in; visit The Old Farmer’s Almanac for advice galore on what grows well in your zone and the best times to plant.

5. Let your kids label the plants.

Use iMOM’s Kids Plant Labels to let the little ones mark which rows contain which plants.

Once you get your chosen seeds or seedlings nestled into their little garden home, water regularly and enjoy the show! Your family will love checking on the plants each day to see how much they’ve grown and to watch them begin to bear their fruits or vegetables. When things begin to ripen, harvest and enjoy. There’s nothing quite as tasty or nutritious as fresh-picked produce!

*American Horticultural Society