Before the days of supermarkets, many families relied on growing their own vegetables and preserving them for use over the long winter months.
If you’re thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this season, you’ll have plenty of company. Raising edible plants is the fastest-growing trend in gardening. Whether you hope to save money on your grocery bill, reduce fears about food safety, or just enjoy the flavor of straight-from-the-garden freshness, growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding.
Growing an edible family garden is a great way to get your children excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, it is a great way for children to get exercise and spend time outdoors in an activity the whole family can benefit from.
If you teach children to garden, they will experience a joy that will be with them the rest of their lives. However, many kids grow up today without the benefit of having a garden or farming background and access to free play outdoors. They often don’t know what to do in a garden. That’s where parents and grandparents come in. Adults can help kids learn about growing plants in a fun and engaging way. Plus, it will be a special time together outdoors, exploring the land, food, and flowers.
To encourage children to garden, it is important to have them grow vegetables that will mature quickly so that they can see the results of their efforts right away.
From the first crisp carrots of early summer to the last sweet squash of fall, a vegetable garden is a constantly changing delight. There is the pleasure of anticipation in watching as beets and carrots shoulder their way into view, beans swell in their pods, cucumbers lengthen and corn put out silky tassels. Then there is the enjoyment of consuming the harvest, fresh-picked and full of flavor.
As you make plans for a vegetable garden, there’s no better advice than this: Start small. It’s easy to get carried away during spring planting season when good intentions and enthusiasm are riding high. That jumbo veggie patch that makes you swell with pride in May can become an unmanageable, weedy monster in the hot and sweaty days of summer.
Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA
Reviewed by: Joyce Shriner, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Hocking County, Buckeye Hills EERA
Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA