With the weather warming up, Dominik and I spend time together in our backyard while the dogs run around chasing birds and barking at the neighbors. He is only a month old, but I think he enjoys the view of the different plants my husband is growing. Apparently, I can only grow babies because the plants will wilt under my care. So, Kelley keeps them alive. I have found that having a small garden is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s pretty useful for someone who’s: 1. cheap, 2. lazy, and 3. trying to eat organic when possible. There’s many a night when I realize the fridge is empty and instead of heating up carbs with a side of carbs, I can just get a few fresh veggies from the garden. This really made me realize how useful a garden can be, so I thought I would throw together some tips on creating a garden in honor of spring.
1. Pick plants that are edible….and that you and your family will actually eat. Having an edible garden will save you money normally spent at the grocery store. But beware of getting the beautiful zucchini plant…that only you will eat. Go for a few plants that are easy to grow and that will work themselves into your family’s menu.
2. Planting some bee friendly plants will ensure a beautiful garden as well as lend a helping hand to a species very much in trouble. Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting bees everywhere and is decimating the bee population. Providing an organic food source for your local bees is a small step in hopefully protecting their hive. Remember: if you enjoy fresh food, you NEED bees! Also, butterflies are in decline as well, so bee friendly plants are great to help out these fellow pollinators! Some bee friendly plants: goldenrod, honeysuckle, clover, thyme, crabapples, basil, geraniums, lavender, and a TON more.
3. Get the kiddos involved. Gardening is an amazing experience for children of all ages. It gets them outside in the fresh air, teaches them about biology/plants, allows them to use their sensory skills, and is a sneaky way to get them interested in veggies. Usually when kids take an active part in growing and preparing food, they have more of an interest in tasting them!
4. Make sure the garden is pet friendly and safe. Before buying any plants, make sure the ones you choose are safe for the whole family. Especially if you have small children or pets and even if you just have neighborhood animals or kids that could find their way into your yard. For example, foxglove is a beautiful plant but is toxic if ingested and can be fatal if ingested by humans, dogs, or cats.
5. No yard? Small potted plants like herbs look beautiful in windows and are delicious! We are currently renting a house, so even though we have a yard, most of our plants are in pots so that they can travel with us when we move.