One of the coolest things about our backyard is the gorgeous fenced-in garden area that was here when we moved into the house. That first spring, the kids and I couldn't wait to plant seeds and seedlings- and without much forethought or “education”- we ended up with a rather bountiful vegetable garden! And over the years, we've learned a few things to maximize our harvest for our DIY Summer Camp at Home! Here are 12 tips on how to grow a vegetable garden with your kids!
This year I would like to be a little more strategic and do a better job of maximizing the space that we have. A few cucumber seeds last year turned into a tangle of vines and a crazy number of cukes! Can I grow them vertically instead?
I didn't know that I needed to thin my carrot seedlings- so I gave them no room to grow which resulted in bushels of teeny tiny thin carrots! And we only sowed our sugar snap peas once, when we could have been enjoying them all season long!
Clearly, I have more to learn!
How to Grow a Vegetable Garden? Start With a Plan!
When you first decide to plant a garden- the first question you ask yourself is what should you grow? And while you'll definitely want to grow fruits and veggies that you know your family will eat- you want to balance that against which types of plants are easy for beginner gardeners and will do well in your area of the country.
I found this helpful post on 7 Best Vegetables for Beginner Gardeners over on Premeditated Leftovers that is worth checking out!
Instructables offers some great advice on how to make the most of your garden space– and confirmed what I thought, this year I should grow my cucumbers and zucchini vertically- either by guiding the plants to grow up on our garden fencing or by providing some sort of a trellis in the raised bed. And I need to be more diligent about “guiding the vines” to where I want them to grow!
Grow a Good Life has a great post that helps us to think through mapping out our garden beds– with the reminder that we should be rotating what is planted in each bed every year so that we don't deplete the soil. She breaks it down into 5 plant families for us so we know how to plan our rotations.
I love this idea from The Gardening Cook- to create a drip feeder system to get water down to the roots of your tomato plants. Made from soda bottles- this is an easy and inexpensive trick!
And if you are thinking about growing fruits and vegetables in a container garden this year (which I am considering just to expand my gardening space!)- Grow a Good Life has a great tutorial on how to build a self-watering container out of an 18-gallon tote.
This is such a great idea- and it is so much less expensive than buying a pre-made container!
The Nitty-Gritty- What We Want to Know to Grow a Vegetable Garden!
The prize items in my garden last year were my Roma tomatoes which I used to make my homemade roasted tomato sauce. My mouth still waters thinking about that sauce- but sadly all the sauce was all gone before the first flake of snow even hit the ground!
This year I hope to harvest 4 times the amount of Romas we had last year so I can really stock up on the sauce! Bakerette gives us her best tips on how to plant and grow Roma tomatoes– and you have to check out her tip about how deep to plant the seedlings that we buy at the nursery!
Grow a Good Life explains the benefits of growing her summer squash (zucchini) in tomato cages- because it gives the plants good air circulation which helps to limit diseases! She also has a tip about what happens with the hollow stems bend over the side of the cage.
We are trying very hard to get our strawberry bed going- we added a few plants last year, but they didn't seem to get very big. This year I want to add a few more to the bed, and try these tips for growing strawberries from Premeditated Leftovers- such as adding coffee grounds to the beds!
I want my carrots to look like this- not like the spindly little ones I grew last year! Now I know to thin my carrots after they sprout from seed- and this post from SlapDash Mom gives great tips on knowing when to harvest (and she shares some yummy-sounding carrot recipes too!)
Sugar snap peas are so fun to grow in the garden- but rarely do very many make it into my house because the kids eat them all straight from the plant! Frugal Family Home has lots of information on how to grow sugar snap peas and how to harvest multiple crops of them during the growing season!
I had not thought of growing cantaloupes in our garden- even though I buy them at the grocery store almost every week! Premeditated Leftovers gives us the low down how to care for the bulbs when they appear (wrapping them in pantyhose and placing them on top of a piece of foil to keep them warm!) so that we can try growing cantaloupes in our gardens!
And last but not least, Outlaw Garden makes it sound so simple to grow sweet potatoes by starting them indoors from pieces of one organic sweet potato- how can I not try this?
Looking for some great ideas for your DIY Summer Camp?
- Why We Hold Our Own Kids Summer Camp at Home
- 10 Ideas to Make This Your Family's Best Summer EVER!
- Free Printable Family Summer Bucket List
- Free Printable Summer Schedule
- 10 Ideas to Celebrate the Last Day of School and the Start of Summer
- 12 Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden with Kids!
- 10 Awesome Backyard Games for Tweens!
Are you planning to grow vegetable garden this year?