In response to Earthgrlie’s question on my Independence Days post, I’m reposting this from last year. I’ll try to post more information on beginning gardening soon for all of you out there who want to learn more. If any of you have specific questions you would like for me to address, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll try to include that information in future posts.
How does your garden grow? While mine doesn't have any silver bells in it, I have been blessed with an abundance of fresh vegetables on our table as a result of our home garden. A few weeks ago, I led a discussion on gardening with the Holistic Moms Network of Knoxville, TN, and I've included our handout information below. Having a home garden can be one frugal way to lead your family towards more self sufficiency.
Handout information follows:
Gardening with children
• Remember that it will take longer than you think to accomplish a given task.
• Set them up for success. Broadcasting seeds in a lettuce mix requires the child to be less precise than knowing how far to space tomatoes.
• Assign them chores throughout the seasons. Picking up sticks for kindling in the winter, planting in the spring, watering and picking in the summer, and raking and mulching in the fall. Have them work alongside you and talk to them about what you are doing. Teach them what you know and learn with them what you do not.
• Invest in some child-sized tools. Make sure to respect the work of the child by purchasing tools that will actually work. For example, flimsy plastic tools can lead to frustration. You can find many tools that are both useful and safe for a child to use.
• Consider designating a garden plot for the child to work. Let them choose what will go in it and to be in charge of the care and upkeep. Don’t stress if the garden is not fruitful, as we learn as much through what does not go “right” as well as what does.
• Explore the garden up close. Ask them what they notice about different kinds of soils. Get excited about insects in the garden. View the same plant throughout the day and notice what changes occur.
Easy vegetables: from seed--beans of all types, peas, okra, cucumbers, beets; from set/bulb—onions; as plant--cherry and grape tomatoes, hot peppers
Easy herbs: from seed—basil and dill, from plant—rosemary, oregano, thyme, chives, sage, parsley, mint (very invasive)
Edible flowers: petals of daylily (NOT lily, eat in moderation), pansies, sunflower seeds, nasturtium flowers, squash blossoms, violets (wild violets, NOT the houseplant African violet)
Flowers: from seed--zinnias, cosmos, bachelors buttons, sunflowers; from bulb in the fall—tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, galanthus; from bulb/tuber in the spring—lilies, drumstick allium; from plant—salvia, anise hyssop, monarda
Drought tolerant—sempervivin family, sedum
Plants of interest to children—lamb’s ear (soft leaves, invasive), moonflower and morning glory (vines), obedient plant
Try to remember
• Give your plants room to grow.
• Start a garden journal. You will be amazed at what you will forget from one season to the next.
• Remember that mistakes in the garden are often more profitable learning experiences than the successes.
• Draw from the experiences of others. Get to know your neighbors. Ask the older generation for their advice.
• DON’T be afraid to try. What is the worst thing that could happen?
• Expand your garden slowly. What you should have in your garden is based on how much time, energy, and money you are willing to put in to it each year. Have a 5 year plan for your garden.
• A compost bin, passive compost pile, and/or worm composter are important tools in helping you build your soil.
• Be water wise. Use water saving tools such as rain barrels and mulch.
• You do not have to buy fancy tools to garden. A hoe, hand trowel, pair of pruning shears, wheelbarrow (if a larger garden), and five gallon bucket will cover about anything you will need to do in the garden.
Garden books and resources
• Green Thumbs, A Kid’s Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening by Laurie Carlson—a wealth of information on gardening with children.
• Sunflower Houses : Inspiration from the Garden - A Book for Children and Their Grown-Ups (Paperback) by Sharon Lovejoy—In the HMN library
• Great Garden Companions, A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical Free Vegetable Garden by Sally Jean Cunningham—Great information about beneficial and pest insects, tips on plant rotation, garden “friends”
• Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew –Your beds can be more fruitful if not grown in traditional rows. www.squarefootgardening.com
• Mother Earth News and website—A wealth of information on all things related to gardening, the environment, and self sustainability.
• Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening—Includes anything and everything related to organic gardening
• Country Wisdom and Know-How ed. Storey Books—Full of tips, instruction and info on how to do just about anything related to self sustainability.
• Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery—Good tips on food preservation and gardening
• Organic Gardening magazine—I’ve found each issue to give comprehensive information that appeals to both the experienced gardener and the novice.
• Stanley’s Greenhouse-- 3029 Davenport Rd Knoxville, TN 37920 - (865) 573-9591
• Knoxville Seed--5001 Rutledge Pike, Knoxville - (865) 524-2734
• Saplings--10802 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37934 (865) 966-7883
• Erin’s Meadows—herbs, classes 132 England Lane, Clinton, TN 37716 865-435-1452.
• Three Rivers Market—seeds, herbs, berries 937 N Broadway St Knoxville, TN 37917 - (865) 525-2069
• All local farmers markets have vendors selling seedling and plants in the spring and fall.
• Knox County Extension Agency—education and information 400 W. Main Ave., Suite 560 Knoxville, TN 37902-2411 (865) 215-2340
• Ijam’s Nature Center—education opportunities 2915 Island Home Avenue - Knoxville, TN 37920 - (865) 577-4717
Seed Catalogs—These are catalogs that are on the list for non-GMO seeds /plants. I have received excellent customer service, found the products to be of high quality, and have had multiple years experience with each company.
• Seeds of Change www.seedsofchange.com
• Kitchen Garden Seeds, Beauty from Bulbs, and Van Engelen—all parts of the same company. This is THE BEST resource for bulbs. I buy most of my vegetable seeds from the company’s seed catalog www.kitchengardenseeds.com
• Fedco www.fedcoseeds.com
• Ronniger’s Potatoes www.ronnigers.com