There is lot more to gardening beyond tagging it as a hobby. If eating local, fresh food that helps you save money and reap health benefits is your motive, start a home garden. Even more beneficial when you involve kids in this process. Even a journal studies shows that kids who grow up in a home with a garden ate more vegetables compared to kids who did not have access to a home garden.
Most multi-story apartments nowadays provide just the space needed for living and growing your own garden is unimaginable in some places. For instance, take the case of metropolitan cities where getting your own house is an unachievable dream for many people lifelong. Feasibility of a home garden becomes a big question mark in such places. Other issues such as time constraint or poor soil quality have paved way for the exotic concept of container gardening. Container gardening is a great way for kids to realize the actual place of birth of foods that we eat. Eating your own produce is an amazing feeling that not all people are blessed with.
Buckets and mugs are regular-style containers present in most houses. Use your creativity to come up with something flamboyant. Maybe a wheelbarrow, wooden boxes or small plastic stools can make a great pot! Hanging baskets seem good when there is extreme space restriction. Clay pots too are a worthy option for plants that don’t require much soil. Use containers suitable for the plant you grow-some plants need more soil and go deep compared to others. Seed packets can be referred to know more about the type of soil suitable for the plants.
Before using a wood container, get an opinion from the local hardware store about your container as some old woods might sometimes have harmful chemicals that can hinder the plant’s growth. Also, don’t use containers that previously contained toxic materials. Before using any containers, make a few holes here and there near the bottom (half-inch holes) to allow water to run out and prevent the roots from rotting. If water oozing from a plant worries you (surfaces get spoiled!), place a saucer underneath the pot and ensure to discard liquid at regular intervals from the saucer.
Heart of Gardening
Always start with a blend of different soils for maximized results and this is the right time to pull in your kids too! While it is easier to start with stuffs such as snap pea or cherry tomato, try growing vegetables that interest your kids. Many kids love to dig right into the soil to find their buried treasure. Carrots or potatoes are an excellent planting option for such kids and they grow well in a container too! Instructions on the seed packets help you decide when to plant each crop. Some seeds should be sowed indoors and then shifted outside or its better to put plants from a greenhouse into your container.
Take Good Care
Plants grown outside in soil naturally have abundant soil nutrients that take care of their needs. Plants grown in a container have restricted soil access and hence, must be replenished with nutrient in the form of compost material (prepared by yourself preferably) or commercial fertilizers. These plants need to be watered at least twice a day as there is less space for more water in one go. Ensure to remove dried leaves and buds to pave way for healthy new ones.
Finally, when it is harvest time, reap the benefits of your hard work by enjoying the yummy harvest. Sowing, growing and harvesting is an incomparable experience that’s beyond description. Kids who participate equally with their parents in all these phases of gardening realize the efforts of food cultivation and appreciate a farmer’s value. Such kids value food extremely carefully and avoid wasting them, eat all types of produce and look forward to growing plants repeatedly. Gardening is a fun, beneficial and a productive activity for the entire family. Read more on gardening and how this can be a valuable form of exercising at www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.