Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Growing food

June 05. 2013 12:08PM

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Five vegetable garden tips for kids and teens

by Rachel Ezrin

1. Ask For Your Own Space

The ability to create a personal garden is paramount. Ask parents if they are willing to wall off a section of their garden as a blank slate to start planning. If you live in an urbanized area, check to see if the local park has a communal garden.

2. Be Prepared

Always pre-plan a garden. Certain vegetables grow during specific seasons, and therefore, must be planted ahead of time. All plants require room to grow and the blueprints should be planned accordingly. Make sure the garden will receive six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Additionally, make sure you have some blankets on hand, in case of a frost early in the season. For smaller plants, have a parent cut off the top of any plastic bottle, and place it over the plant.

3. The Basics

Make sure you obtain the right tools to begin your garden. Watering cans, spades and shovels are equipment that will make gardening much easier. Taking care of these tools ensures that the garden remains in top shape and helps them last longer.

Additionally, first-time gardeners may find themselves over their heads with plants that constantly crave attention. Start off simple by planting low-maintenance crops, such as lettuce and tomato. Not only do both require minimal upkeep, but both can be included in a variety of dishes.

4. Prepare the Soil

Always make sure that the soil remains fertile. This can be done by adding varying amounts of straw or compost and using natural mulch. Mulch is “natural” when it breaks down into the soil; the soil will then absorb its nutrients.

5. The Benefits

Not only are homegrown vegetables healthier than their supermarket counterparts, they are extremely convenient. No more 20-minute drive to the grocery store; simply pick, wash, and cook. The harmful chemicals present in brand-name vegetables aren’t present in the ones from your garden. Last but not least, all of the vegetables you grow are free.

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