Mom to Mom

How Does Your Garden Grow?
April 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM

One of the things I've loved most about writing here is hearing your answers and advice. Something came up repeatedly in the comments on my most recent post about buying organic food, and I took it as a bit of a sign. You see, in response to a question I raised in my post focused on buying organic food, a number of people referenced GROWING their own fruits and vegetables. And like that, a light bulb went off...

I grew up in the suburbs, and my parents had a fantastic garden that they carefully tended to each spring and summer. We also had a cherry tree, and a strawberry patch. It was amazing, and I have a lot of happy memories from my childhood, helping to plant, weed, and of course eat the produce we had helped to grow.

I moved to New York City for college, and right into a cramped apartment. This became my new normal for nearly the next ten years. My husband and I got married, and both of our kids spent their first few years in apartments. We moved to our first house less than a year ago. It's been great for all the obvious reasons, and we've spent the past months making it ours. Now, we're ready to move on to the "extras;" the fun stuff like redecorating, and prettying up, and not the responsible, boring essentials you know, "OMG WE MUST REPLACE THIS AGED TOILET ASAP."

One of those "extras" about which I'm now fantasizing is a garden. I remember how much fun it was as a kid, and I'd love to have that same experience with my own children. It would be a wonderful way to teach them some basic responsibility, and give them a sense of where food comes from. It would also be a great way to get even more fresh fruits and vegetables into our diet without a ton of extra expense or effort. We even have a perfect corner in our backyard that I have my eye on.

But about that effort...for the gardeners among you, where do we begin? What are the hardest fruit and vegetables to kill? Given our location (New Jersey), I know we're not going to have much luck with a lemon grove or an avocado tree, but I would think that strawberries (like the ones I had growing up), tomatoes, and cucumbers (all of which my kids love to eat) should be (relatively) straightforward to get going. I right?  Or am I underestimating this whole undertaking?

Do you have a garden? Do your kids participate with it? Are there any other recommendations (specific things that are easy to grow, timing, practical advice, etc.) that you have for us?  


  • LancesMom
    April 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Quoting starreyedcutie:

    Yes this year we have a veggi garden and were growing our own pumpkins for Halloween

    I have tried growing pumpkins a couple different times and just have bad luck with them! I have a BIL that would grow them and when they were small scratch in all the kids names. Then as they grew more... The name became a part of the pumpkin! It was so cool!

  • itsblissmas
    April 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM

     We don't have a garden. Maybe some day but not now!

  • Reina13
    by Reina13
    April 25, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I would love to have a garden but everything I touch turns to black. I seriously have the 'thumbs of death'. I cannot get anything to grow. Instead I have very low maintence bushes in my flower beds that get all the watering attention they need from the sprinklers that are preset.

  • Reina13
    by Reina13
    April 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    That sounds wonderful.

    Quoting slw123:

    We have a few veggies sprouting right now.

  • Leelee1008
    April 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I dont have a garden, we have a cramped yard, with alot of tree roots and we have alot of kids that would trample it sadly. My fil has a garden, he seems to have most luck with tomatoes and beans. make sure it gets adequate water, and sun light. 

  • Charizma77
    April 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM
    We don't have a garden but I would really like to have one. My kids love being outdoors and I think they would love it.
  • Rushn311
    April 25, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    My hubby plants them usually late May. It's all organic. Kids don't help, it's all my hubby who does it. When I plant my flowers I let my daughter help me.

  • NearSeattleMom
    April 25, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Quoting dusky_rose:

    I want to plant a garden this spring. I haven't gotten started yet. My younger brother grows a garden and he has had luck with zucchini and carrots and oregano, but we live in Washington state. I want to grow corn and sunflowers and peas and radishes too.

    I think zucchini is a great idea . . . also green beans are pretty reliable.

    I'm thinking about growing some vegetables in pots - our ground here in SoCal is pretty hard (clay? sand? I don't know) and I have a really small yard but a decent sized-patio . . .

    My daughter has some faux-grandparents and she's been lucky enough to help them with their garden.  They grow tomatoes and onions.

  • Bmat
    by Bmat
    April 25, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    green beans are great for children, they pop up almost the next morning after planting. Radishes also are fast and easy.

  • TheBabyFactory4
    April 25, 2012 at 4:33 PM
    No garden yet. But we plan on planting some things

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