Have you considered planting a garden but you’re concerned about the maintenance requirements? Many decorative and edible plants don’t require a ton of work, and gardening comes with many tremendous benefits. So don’t put off this fulfilling hobby any longer. Use this handy guide to get started with your easy-care garden today.
Why Should Your Family Plant a Garden?
“Young mom and daughter have fun in the work of gardening” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flick by shixart1985
Whether you’re putting in your first raised bed or adding a few potted herbs to your deck, gardening can be an easy and fun activity to share with the whole family. The best part is that it comes with many benefits beyond the obvious. Enjoy a variety of perks every time you and the kids gather in the garden, such as:
- Delicious ingredients: Fresh, homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs bring your favorite meals to life. These ingredients are bursting with flavors that explode in your mouth. Foods that sit out on the grocery shelves can’t compare to flavor-packed items you grow yourself.
- Better nutrition: Feeding our families well is at the forefront of many parent’s minds. Eating fruits and vegetables could help your family live longer, according to the American Health Association.
- Get outdoors: Planting a garden gets you and the kiddos outside. Most pediatricians agree that spending time in fresh air and sunshine is good for children of all ages, and mom and dad too!
- Relaxation: Just 30-minutes of gardening can reduce stress, according to a Japanese study posted on Forbes. That’s not a lot of time to reap these vital benefits.
- Safer produce: If you’re concerned about recalls on foods like spinach, growing your own may help you worry less. You’ll have complete control over the products you use, and you don’t have to concern yourself with the potential hazards from commercial farms and transportation.
- Less environmental impact: Planting a low-maintenance garden may reduce food waste, the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides, and fossil fuels needed to transport food to stores.
- It’s rewarding: Picking a basket of food you’ve grown is rewarding and provides your family with a sense of accomplishment. Don’t forget to proudly post your Instagram-worthy photos for everyone to see your success.
Tips for Low Maintenance Gardens
If you’ve been dreaming of rows of glorious vegetables, it’s time to get started. With a little advanced planning, you’ll be well on your way to your next harvest. Take advantage of these tips when planning your low-maintenance garden, including:
- Start small: Begin with one or two raised beds or a modest, 2-foot by 4-foot patch. Limit the number of plants you put in the ground as well. Stick to three varieties of plants the first year and expand as your confidence level grows.
- Be selective: Choose your plants carefully. Look for those that won’t wilt in the sun or require frequent pruning and only grow foods that your family already eats.
- Use mulch: Most expert gardeners recommend using mulch to reduce weeds and watering requirements.
- Get creative: Take advantage of soaker hoses, automatic timers, or drip systems to help with watering duties.
If you’re like many parents who take up gardening, you might enjoy a few unexpected perks. Some finicky eaters suddenly become willing to incorporate new flavors into their diet when they’ve grown it themselves. That’s reason enough to get the kids involved, not to mention the health benefits of vitamin-packed vegetables. When planning your garden, remember to set the kids up for success and pick from this list of easy-care varieties:
- Roots: These plants are some of the easiest to grow and can go in the ground after the last frost, which is typically the end of March in Georgia. Try planting radishes, beets, carrots, and potatoes.
- Vines: Novice gardeners will also do well with zucchini and cucumbers. Other vines like peas and green beans are also terrific choices for your easy-care garden.
- Greens: Spinach, lettuce, chard, and kale are awesome starter greens for beginners. They usually require little watering, no pruning, and you can snip off only what you need without compromising the plant.
Easy Care Herbs
Does your child relish putting a meal on the table? Encourage them to plant a few herbs. Having access to homegrown plants you can toss fresh in the pan is a fantasy of many top chefs, so why not have this luxury at home? Growing herbs is easy because once the plants are established, and most varieties produce abundant leaves for harvests. You just may grow so much, you can dry and store your herbs for use all winter.
Herbs often do well in a pot on a sunny windowsill or the corner of your deck. Many varieties are perennials, meaning they grow year after year, and most culinary types are as fragrant and flavorful as they are easy to care for, like:
- Bay leaf.
Who doesn’t love a sweet and juicy piece of fruit? With this list of fuss-free types, your school-aged kiddos can help after class and still get a bountiful harvest on the table. From freshly sliced to cobbler, there are many ways to take advantage of fruit-bearing plants in your low-maintenance gardening. Even beginners can sow varieties right in your garden soil, like:
- Trees: Fruit-bearing trees like the South’s famous peaches, apricots, citrus, cherries, and pears are all excellent choices for novice arborists.
- Vines: Strawberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon are all grown on the vine and require little care to produce loads of yummy fruit.
- Bushes: If you love blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, consider investing in a bush or two. Add one to your backyard farm each year, and soon you’ll have a self-sufficient berry patch.
There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Alpharetta just gave you this list of kid-friendly tips for planting a low-maintenance garden. Does your family have a favorite gardening tip or trick that we didn’t include on this list? Drop us a line so we can check out your recommendation and share it with other Georgians.