Digging in the earth


It’s that time of year again – time to get my hands dirty and grow some things. A couple years ago, we built four 4-by-8-foot raised garden beds and started a vegetable garden. This is something the kids look forward to and love. Most of us probably live on suburban lots, so what’s great about raised beds is they’re compact and pretty much an instant gratification thing since it only takes a couple of hours. Plus, it’s cool to eat food you’ve grown yourself. My kids think it tastes the best.

Let’s start with building a raised bed. We built ours in a sunny spot in the yard with cedar boards and got some soil from GreenCycle to fill it. I laid down thick piles of newspaper, put the bed “frame” on it and filled it with soil. Voilà! The grass dies and the newspaper composts. Raised gardens also dramatically cut down on weeds, which sounds good to the lazy gardener.

Now, what to plant? I recommend carrots, tomatoes, peas and/or beans. Herbs are great, too. We started seeds indoors last week, so if you go that route, now is the time to do so. I always buy heirloom seeds or plants, so I’m not giving my money to companies that grow genetically-modified crops. I like to buy from independent nurseries, especially Garden Thyme, which sells heirloom tomato plants in the summer.

Since I’m a fan of keeping it simple, some of my favorite gardening books are those written for kids, like “Garden Crafts for Kids” and “Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots,” both covering ways to get started on your gardening adventure, composting and easy projects to do with your kids. Happy gardening!