How Does Your Garden Grow? July 1, 2009
We’ve got a summer garden. We had one last year, but good gardeners, we were not. We let weeds take over our crops, we didn’t water enough, we all but forgot about the food struggling to survive in our back yard. This year, we’re doing a whole lot better, and our little boys just love charting the progress of our now knee-high corn, our blossoming squash, our watermelon vines that are crawling across the mulch.
Mulch? Yes, mulch is one of our tricks. So is newspaper, sand, dirt and a mini sprinkler system. Our secrets to success all come from a local state park called Dudley Farm. Here they are:
- Locate a sunny spot — we demolished an old sandbox, and we used the wooden sides to create a big container garden.
- Weed the area — you want to start with nothing but clean dirt, so pull all weeds and clumps of grass.
- Cover entire area with newspaper — this will prevent pesky weeds from breaking through.
- Cover newspaper with sand — we took ours from the sandbox.
- Cover sand with topsoil – make sure it’s deep enough that you can sink seeds several inches deep.
- Plant your seeds or already-started plants — position them in rows, and leave a walkway between each row.
- Cover walkways with mulch — but don’t cover your seeded areas.
- Wind a sprinkling hose throughout your garden — put it on top of mulch, and set it to automatically water once a day. Be careful not to water too much (we started with twice a day, since our Florida weather is so scorching hot, but we sacrificed our carrots and lettuce in the process).
- Watch your garden grow.
- Harvest and eat when ready.
So, here’s why we think gardening is so great: The whole family assisted in crafting our garden, and we’ve got lasting memories of little boys pushing wheelbarrows of sand and dirt and pouring seeds into the earth. It promotes physical activity — lots of hard work, sweat and calories were spent on our masterpiece. Daily, our guys enthusiastically check on the garden and report on its progress. One day, we’ll be eating the fruits (and veggies) or our labor. The food will be whole, healthy and free of pesticides. And happily, we have no weeds or bugs.
How does our garden grow? Beautifully. And we think next year will be even better.