Studies have confirmed that kids who gardened during their early childhood years were more likely to incorporate fruits and vegetables in their everyday life. It ties back to the idea that if you sow the seeds of wisdom in your child’s mind during their early years, only then are they more likely to become successful adults. If you tell your kid to eat his broccoli he might resist and push it aside. If you teach him how to grow it, and nurture it, and then eat the same broccoli that he helped grow with his own hands, then he might be more likely to try it as part of his meal.
Another study done at Cornell confirmed that when garden grown vegetables were put into school salads, the kids were over 4 times more likely to take it. Getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables promotes a healthier lifestyle which helps combat childhood obesity and prevent other chronic diseases later on in life.
There are many elementary and middle schools here around Austin that incorporate gardening as part of their curriculum. Austin also has a multitude of different programs that support child gardening. These include Texas Sprouts, Childhood Development Center at the University of Texas Austin , and Learn, Grow, Eat & Go!
If you do not have access to any of these programs, then start gardening with your kids at home! It’s super simple and doesn’t require a lot of time and effort either. To help you out we reviewed ‘The 9 Best Gardening Tips and Tricks for Beginners’ by Huffpost and picked out some of our favorite tips for you to start your own garden.
1) Picking the Right Plant
When starting a garden at home, it is very important to carefully select which plants or vegetables you want to grow. Some plants are easier to grow than others, which might be a good start for a beginner gardener. Try these if you are a beginner:
-Produce:tomatoes, peppers, onions, chard, basil, and bush beans.
-Flowers: clematis, sunflowers, dahlia’s, foxglove, roses, petunia & black eyed susan’s.
2) Start Small, Pick a Location
Don’t fret if your back yard doesn’t have enough space to start a garden, you can easily start a container garden and go from there.
Some plants are shade plants, while others might need full or partial sun. A easy tip is to place your garden on a trolley with wheels or in small pots so you can move it around to find the best lighting that makes your plants happy.
3) Watering your Plants
If your plant leaves start to become yellow and fall off, that could be a sign of moisture stress which could be due to overwatering. It is important to make sure your plant is getting enough water, yet at the same time avoid wetting your plants leaves. Wet leaves can lead to mold, rot and a sick plant. The general rule is to give your plant an inch of water per week. Be sure to check with your local plant nursery for guidelines for your specific plant.
4) Organic All the Way
Choose organic fertilizer, soil, pest control, and seeds when possible. Plants treated with chemicals are prone to becoming weak and diseased. Plus, organic product tends to taste better!
5) Handling Pests
Insects can’t handle plants like garlic, chives, onions and chrysanthemums. Grow these around the garden to repel insects attacking your garden. Garden vegetables that become overripe can also become the main attraction to pests, so remove them as soon as they start to ripe.
To prevent weeds growing, it might be beneficial to cover the soil with some inches of mulch. Some examples include pine needles, or bark chips.