The season of bounty is upon us! Fresh and delicious produce is gracing farmers’ markets and grocery aisles alike, and we can’t get enough of it. Summer is truly a gardener’s paradise. And who doesn’t want one, that gorgeous backyard vegetable garden in lifestyle magazines and what Pinterest dreams are made of. Honestly though, who’s got time for that? Between playdates, summer camps, vacations, and BBQs, it can be tough to find the time and energy to commit to a large backyard garden. But put your green thumb FOMO aside, ‘cause we have some great low-maintenance gardening projects that you and your active family will enjoy together (along with some yummy homegrown produce).
Photo: Maximum Yield
Don’t let its small size fool you, a windowsill garden can yield some fantastic vegetables and herbs. Most windowsill/window box gardens are in the kitchen, so they’re also convenient for cooking and snacking. No matter what you’re growing, foods or flowers, your garden/window box will want a full six hours of sunlight per day to be healthy and fruitful! Rich soil will also be a must. Any ‘complete’ fertilizer from your local home and garden store will include most of the nutrients necessary to keep your sprouts well fed.
If you want to do a bit of gardening outside, consider a potted herb garden or other container gardening. There are too many benefits of container gardening to count, but a few of the top ones include: no tilling, few weeds, easy pest control, and low water consumption. Decorative containers also look lovely in an outdoor space, and there’s nothing like the scent of fresh herbs on a warm summer’s day. If you decide on an herb garden, be sure to include a few that the kids will enjoy, like lavender, mint, and chives. (Mint is very hardy and grows quickly, so it has a tendency to overtake a bed or pot, so consider placing it in its own.) Show the kids how to snip the fresh herbs and make a meal with them.
Photo: Garden Season
Regrowing vegetables is the ultimate in low-maintenance gardening because you can easily do it with produce you already have on hand. Scraps of celery, lettuce, bean sprouts, and many other vegetables can be placed in water for a period of time then transported to soil once the root system develops. This gardening project is particularly great for kids, so have fun with it and let them pick out the veggies. Bonus points: Add on a science experiment next to your regrow garden. Teach your kids how plants absorb water by using a few celery stalks and food coloring, details HERE.
Photo: Better Homes & Gardens
Small Raised-Bed Garden
And for those who are determined to start a traditional garden this season, it’s still possible, even with your busy summer schedule. All the gardening books tell you to start small, and we recommend a little raised-bed garden! Because it’s above ground, no digging is necessary and, if it’s not too large, you can cost effectively use store-bought potting soil. Choose veggies that are seasonal and easy to grow, like beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Throw in a few herbs for good measure, and you’re well on your way to a tasty farm-to-table meal!