We enjoy gardening and growing some of our own food, but sometimes life gets really busy and we just can’t keep up with it all. However, this time at home has come at the perfect time to really kick up our gardening plans. The weather is great, we have time to weed and water, and the kids are really excited to be growing vegetables. I want to share some of the benefits of gardening in our homeschool as well as some tips for getting started.
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Getting outside in the garden is a great way to get moving, get in some physical activity, and just enjoy time outside. There is plenty of research showing the benefits of getting outside for both children and adults and this is a great way to enjoy that time together.
Some children can be picky about what they want to eat and may not enjoy trying new foods. Gardening is a great way to help them overcome that challenge. Often children are more willing to try a new vegetable or fruit that they helped grow. It is also a great opportunity to talk about nutrition and vitamins as you plant a variety of different foods.
Finally, the rewards are in the tasty food that you can put on your plate and hopefully the lower grocery bills. A tomato fresh off the vine is far better than any tomato you can ever find in the store and an ear of corn picked and cooked that day, or even better eaten raw, still warm from the July sunshine is a summer delicacy.
My first bit of advice is to start small. It can be tempting to go out and plant every vegetable you have ever wanted to eat, but if you start with just a few things it is easier to maintain. Once you get the hang of it, you can increase your garden size.
There are lots of wonderful books and blogs about gardening, but one resource you do not want to forget is your local cooperative extension. Each state has one and in most states, there are county offices that can help you. We love our North Carolina Cooperative Extension for gardening schedules, soil testing, and more.
If you want this to be an enjoyable family experience, I highly recommend getting some input from your children. Let them help pick out which vegetables or flowers they want to plant. If possible, get them their own small garden tools and gloves so that they can really take ownership in the process.
Spend a few minutes each day weeding, watering, and checking on your garden. You can do a lot in a few minutes a day, but if you get behind on the weeding it can take hours to catch up and become overwhelming. In the summer I also recommend, when possible, working in the early morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day.
If you are concerned about physical limitations or are working on strengthening your core, my friend Beth over at Fit2b has created this free resources to help with safe gardening techniques. This can help you get the most out of your gardening while keeping your abdominal muscles safe and supported.
What If I Don’t Have Space?
It does not take a lot of outdoor space to have a garden. You can plant tomatoes or cabbage in a flower bed. We have onions lining our walkway. However, you may not have any outdoor space. You can still enjoy gardening. If you have a porch or balcony, you can do container gardening. If you need to be indoors, you can plant herbs, mushrooms, or even tomatoes in your home. Microgreens are also a great way to quickly grow something indoors. You may not get the outdoor benefits of gardening but it can still be a fun and educational experience.
Whether you love gardening already or are just getting started, I hope these tips have been helpful. I would love for you to share your favorite resources in the comments. Also, if you have any questions feel free to ask those in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
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Deals and Freebies
Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG
Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.
Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.
IEW is offering some great free resources right now.
FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)