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Summer Gardening for Beginners

I love gardening! It’s really just a fancy word for digging in the dirt, breaking up the big clods, making the dirt better, planting things in the dirt, watering the things and watching them grow into beautiful plants, some of which are edible. Connecting with the earth is primal and restorative. It doesn’t have to be complicated or exhausting, so the process can be as enjoyable as the results. Why not introduce your family to gardening this year?

In the Yard

For in-ground planting, clear grass, weeds and debris. Turn soil with a long-handled shovel to a depth of 12 inches. Work the soil with a cultivator (trowel) until all clumps are crumbly. Add peat moss to balance out sand and clay.
A raised bed is great for an instant garden. Make one right over a lawn, by covering grass with newspaper. Spread paper, frame the area and fill with nutrient-rich topsoil 8 to 12 inches deep.
Home Depot has a handy kit for making a raised bed that’s worth investigating:

Home Depot’s Greenland Gardener >
Raised Bed Garden Kit $28.97 / each

• Includes recycled plastic and wood materials
• Features composite material that will not rot
• Highly rated for easy-to-install design

Buy It

Gardening With Children

It’s fun to plant seeds and watch them sprout. Colorful annual flowers like zinnias or marigolds are reliable producers of vibrant blooms that last right into the fall. Children can start seeds indoors in paper cups half-filled with potting soil. Follow package directions for seed depth and watering. Transplant seeds to pots or gardens. Tending plants is a wonderful first responsibility for children as young as two years old. Take photos of the stages of growth and make a scrapbook. Seeds are inexpensive, so grow enough to give a bouquet to grandma!
This year we planted vegetable seeds at our house because we received Heirloom Organic Garden Vegetable Seeds as a gift. The package instructions are excellent. We followed them and our zucchini, bush beans and peppers sprouted successfully. We froze the rest for next year. Now we enjoy watering our seedlings each morning and seeing how much they’ve grown.

Heirloom Organic Garden Vegetable Seeds NON GMO Easy Grower > Sale: $14.95
• 12 Heirloom Varieties of Vegetable Seeds - Open-Pollinated, Non-Hybrid and Non-GMO.
• These seeds produce new seeds every planting year for perpetual food production.
• NON GMO NO PESTICIDES Total Non-Hybrid seeds
• The growing instructions of heirloom vegetables are included.
• Made In The USA By American Families 82,000 Customers Growing Daily

Buy It

I’m always on the lookout for family gifts, and I think this one may be a winner. It’s got child-sized gardening tools, a raised bed and seeds. It’s from the folks at Mini Farm Box Company. Check it out for your gang!

Mini Farm Box’s Kids Gardening Kit > $149.00

• Tote bag with mini tools
• 2’x4’x11” Mini Farm Box Raised Bed
• Kids sun hat
• Kids mud gloves
• Lady bird moister meter
• Organic seed starter kit

Buy It

Planting in Containers

Grow a garden on your patio! Select pots that hold soil to a depth of about 12 inches for vegetables like bush tomatoes. Six inches deep will do for herbs like parsley, oregano, basil or Rosemary. Make sure pots have drainage holes and fill each with potting mix. If it’s early in the season, sow seeds. Follow all instructions and remember that potted plants dry out quicker than plants in the ground.

Additional Resources

Your local library, county extension service, and the Internet have a wealth of information for beginning gardeners. The experts at Burpee Seed Company have an informative website with gardening advice and How-To videos. Visit them at and plan to garden with your family this summer!

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Nancy SchillerNancy Schiller

Nancy Schiller writes helpful, humorous articles on parenting, gardening and business- related topics.

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