If you’re looking to plant a low-maintenance garden that even the kids can help out with, the temperatures in planting zone 8 give you a wealth of options. Our Crème de la Crème team shares some of the easy-to-maintain choices you can plant in Alpharetta and why planting a garden benefits your whole family.

Why Should You Plant a Garden with Your Family?

A raised bed of flowers in a home garden in Alpharetta, GA.

Raised bed by Oregon State University is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Whether you’re putting in a flower bed, adding some shrubs to your property, planting a full vegetable and fruit garden, or just growing a few potted herbs, gardening with your family is a fun pastime to share. Gardening has a lot of benefits that you might never have guessed. Here are some of the perks of gardening with your family:

  • Fresh, delicious ingredients. Nothing beats homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Being able to harvest your edibles ensures that what you bring to the table for your family is the freshest possible food. The flavors you can cultivate in homegrown ingredients are far superior to store-bought produce, which is shipped and can sit out in the grocery store for a while.
  • Superior nutrition. As a parent, you care about what you feed your children. Feeding your family fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs is suitable for their health.
  • Get out and be active outdoors. An easy way to get your kids outdoors is to have them help plant a garden. You get to spend some time being active in the fresh air and sun and contribute to a special project that will benefit your whole family.
  • Relaxation. For easy stress reduction, spend half an hour in the garden. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology reported that time spent in the garden significantly reduced stress compared to reading a book. You don’t need much time for you and your kids to reap the rewards of gardening.
  • Safer produce. As you may know, we often see recalls on produce like spinach and romaine lettuce, to name just two. Growing your vegetables can spare you the concern over food safety. You’ll have complete control, from picking your seeds to growing. You also skip the potential hazards from commercial farms and the pitfalls that can happen during transportation.
  • Reduced environmental impact. Planting a low-maintenance garden is a great way to reduce food waste, combat pesticides, and decrease the fuel used to transport your food to stores.
  • Enjoying the foods you grow. A distinct sense of satisfaction and accomplishment comes from harvesting a basket of food you and your family have grown by yourselves. You can also share your bounty with your extended family, friends, and neighbors. Finally, you enjoy eating the delicious food you and your kids have grown together.

Use Square-Foot Gardening

Square-Foot Gardening is a growing technique developed by Mel Bartholomew that takes the concept of planting a small backyard garden and optimizes it to fit any size yard. It uses wood enclosures on the ground, raised beds, or raised boxes to plant vegetables, fruits, and herbs above the ground. This process eliminates the challenge of planting in the red clay soil in Georgia and removes the limits on what can be grown in red clay, as you can choose any nutrient-rich soil in a ground-level or raised bed. Either way, you’ll be planting above the native soil.

Another advantage to Square-Foot Gardening is that you can use the small spot to plant another crop as soon as one type of plant is harvested. This eliminates unused space to get the most out of your garden. Yet another advantage is that it makes whatever you’re growing lower maintenance. A traditional garden is much more work. The soil has to be worked many times over, and weeding and re-weeding must be done. Also, if you find a nice little spot in your yard for your garden and start digging only to find red Georgia clay, you’ll be out of luck.

Easy-Care Veggies

Here are some easy-care veggies you may want to consider planting in your garden:

  • Greens. Some great starters for beginning gardeners are kale, spinach, chard, and lettuce. These vegetables don’t require much watering or pruning. They’re also great because you can snip off what you need to use without harming the growing plant.
  • Vines. Other great choices for novice gardeners are cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, and peas. They’re all easy to care for in your garden.
  • Roots. These plants are hardy and easy to grow and can be planted after the last frost, which happens in Georgia toward the end of March. Some root plants you can grow are potatoes, radishes, carrots, and beets.

Low Effort Herbs

Fresh herbs are an easy-to-grow luxury that enhances your cooking so much. One thing that makes growing herbs so easy is that once most varieties of herb plants are established, they yield abundant leaves. Your herbs may grow so heartily that you’ll have extra herbs to dry and store year-round, even in the wintertime.

The other great thing about growing herbs is that it doesn’t take up much space. You can grow herbs on a windowsill that gets sun, in a little spot on the corner of your deck, or on a balcony. Many herbs are also perennials, meaning they’ll come back and grow yearly. The following culinary herbs are flavorful, fragrant, and very easy to plant and maintain: 

  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Bay leaf
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Oregano

Easy and Delicious Fruit

Your family can enjoy the benefits of growing fruit in your home garden, such as:

  • Bushes. Adding one or a few berry bushes to your garden each year will turn it into an easy-care berry patch. You can grow raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Once planted, they’re pretty self-sufficient.
  • Vines. For a bit of care and a lot of fruit, plant watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe, which all grow on vines.
  • Trees. Some easy fruit-bearing trees for novice arborists include pears, citrus, cherries, apricots, and famous Georgia peaches.

Our team at Crème de la Crème of Alpharetta, Georgia, invites you to get out there and plant a garden to enjoy with your family. From planting the seeds to tending your harvest to enjoying the fruits of your labor, gardening is a beautiful experience.