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Grow a Vegetable Garden

Growing a vegetable garden is something fun and educational for you and your child. Watching a plant grow from a seed can be very exciting. It's not very difficult either. The results of the T.L.C. you and your child put into a garden will be very rewarding. If you don't have a large area to grow a garden, don't worry. There are other options but you are limited on what you can grow. (There is a classroom project below the instructions for a home garden.)

Growing a garden at home

Items you will need:

  1. Large planting area
  2. Seeds
  3. Steer Manure
  4. Shovel
  5. Water
  6. Straw

Directions:

  1. Check to see when is the appropriate time to plant. Most packages of seeds will give you this information. You can even start early by planting in a pot and keep it in the house until it is warm enough to plant outdoors.
  2. Prepare your soil. I recommend rotatilling, if it is a large area. If you are planting in a small area, soak the soil the day before and then turn the soil over using a pointed shovel.
  3. Mix in fertilizer. There are all kinds of different soils and fertilizers that you can put into the soil. I've even grown vegetables without any fertilizer, but you will get healthier and more productive plants if you choose to fertilize. We just want to keep this simple and cheap, so just buy a bag of cow manure to mix in.
  4. Go to the local nursery or grocery store, or even buy your seeds online. Figure out what kind of vegetables you would like to grow. Some very easy and hearty vegetables to grow are:
    • Tomato
    • Squash
    • Cucumber
    • Radish
  5. Make rows and plant your seeds. If you have prepared your soil right, you should be able to easily stick your finger in the ground to make a hole for the seed. Read the instructions on the bag of seeds also to make sure how far the seed will need to go into the ground.
  6. Water your garden after planting, and daily. To make sure that your garden will grow and produce great tasting vegetables, you must water every day. This is a good responsibility for your child to have.
  7. When the garden has seedlings about a few inches high, put straw on the ground to keep the weeds down and the moisture in. This way if you forget to water for a day or two, your garden will still have some moisture because the straw helps to keep it in. Straw is very inexpensive. For a bale of straw you will pay about $4.00, depending on where you go. Some feed stores might have some extra laying around and let you just take a bag full.
  8. Pesticides...use only if you absolutely have to. Ask your local nursery which ones will be best for your garden. I try not to use any. But if you are losing your crop to insects, you have no other option.
  9. When the time is right, and after a few months of watering and waiting, you will be able to harvest your vegetables. Hopefully you will have plenty of vegetables to enjoy in good health.

Classroom Garden

Items you will need:

  1. One small pot for each child
  2. Potting soil
  3. Seeds
  4. Water
  5. Popsicle sticks
  6. Paint

Growing a garden in the classroom will be fun for the kids. Kids love to play in the dirt, so this will be great for them. I recommend providing 3 or 4 different kinds of seed for them to choose what they would like to grow. You can use this as a farm theme in the classroom.

You may either let the children take them home after you see seedlings, or elect to plant them into a larger pot or trough and keep them to chart when they begin to produce vegetables.

Make a chart on how long it takes for the seed to become a seedling, to see sprouts, to see them bloom with flowers, and to go from flowers to vegetables. To do this you will:

  1. Provide each child with the above items
  2. Have the children paint the pots and put their names on them
  3. Let the child select which vegetable they would like to grow
  4. Write the name of that vegetable on the popsicle stick
  5. Fill each pot with soil so that it is half full
  6. Place seed on soil and cover the seed with 1 inch of soil
  7. Water the seed
  8. Place the popsicle stick into the pot
  9. Place the pots in a sunny area, water daily and watch them grow