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Tips on starting your own gardencomment (0)

June 12, 2008

Ready to start your own garden? Got a patch picked out in the backyard, or want to try your hand at a container garden?

Here are some tips on how to get started.

Starting a vegetable or flower garden
- Start small. Choose a sunny spot no bigger than 5 feet by 5 feet, suggests eHow.com. And be creative with your space. If you don’t have a back yard or adequate outdoor space, try other places to grow plants, such as in containers.

- Remove the weeds first.

- Turn the soil over with a shovel to get it soft for the plants to grow in.

- If the ground is hard, water it the day before you plan to work the soil, eHow.com suggests.

- Water the soil after turning it.

- Choose plants that do well in your area — not something exotic — and buy a few small plants from a nursery. For first-time gardeners, this can be more successful than starting with seed, eHow.com notes.

- Water when you’re finished, and don’t add any fertilizer until you see new growth in your plants. Keep your plants well-watered — don’t let them get drought-stressed.

- For specific suggestions or information, visit www.backyardgardener.com. The site provides instructions with photo illustrations.

- Have fun watching and helping your plants grow.

Involving your children or grandchildren
- Let the children help decide what to plant — just make sure there are some sure-success picks in the ones you choose, says Cheryl Dorschner of the National Gardening Association.

- Grow hardy plants. Children will play around them, so it’s important for them to withstand some activity.

- Give them their own tools to work with, tools that are durable and age-­appropriate.

- Relax your standards, Dorschner says — crooked rows or weeds are fine. And demonstrate how much you love working with the plants just by reveling in your own garden.

Fun options to keep them interested
- Better Homes & Gardens suggests these plants to keep children from getting bored with garden work:
Sunflowers — Your kids will be wowed by how quickly they catch up to them in height. Keep track with a measuring tape.

Beans — These fast growers can climb ladders, poles or just about anything else in your garden. Great for picking and eating right off the vine too.

Nasturtium — Pretty and edible, flowers and all. They also attract hummingbirds to your garden, a sure delight.
Potatoes — These buried treasures make harvest time and digging in the dirt all the more fun.

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