The most wonderful part of growing a family vegetable garden is that children will learn what it means to have a living thing to care for. Plants grow quickly and children can see an illustration of life from them.
1. Use pots. For beginners, the simplest family farming experience will grow something worth watching when using pots filled with enriched soil. Whether you live in the city where garden space is limited or on the South Shore towards Plymouth and Cape Cod where the ground is basically sand, pots will work. Even in west of Boston suburbian towns that have been blessed with rich farmlike soil, vegetables are being grown in rectangular garden space areas with local children learning about growing food. To conserve water and reduce weeds, a mini farm box four feet by four feet, or eight feet by eight feet, creates an almost instant garden.
2. Start indoors. For starters in the house, try using the biodegradable egg cartons with a few seeds in each spot to sprout. Water the egg cartons at least twice daily and maintain uniform soil moisture for best results. Once the sprouts have become visible, they can be moved into larger pots to grow.
3. Teach kids. Science has taught gardeners that the environmental conditions of air and sunlight are the most important ingredient to successful gardening. Agronomics focuses on the pH balance of soil and soil temperatures for best growing conditions. The additional opportunity to teach children many characteristics about the environment may accompany any gardening experience. Follow up with books or DVDs about the same subject and you will be practicing the whole concept of cognitive learning in your family.
4. Use the right tools. Tools for the differect age groups of gardeners will be essential. Plastic sand toys work well for younger kids. Grandparents can work side by side with the children using metal gardening tools. Nevertheless, simply being together for the enjoyment of comraderie will often suffice as a plenty good time for grandparents with their grandchildren.
5. Mingle with other gardeners. Farmers markets are the best place to buy home grown local produce. These community events provide the perfect opportunity get tips from other local gardeners who are well versed on gardening and vegetable gardens in Boston.
These local businesses should be able to help you get started:
Quincy Farmers Market
36 Garfield St.
Quincy, Ma. 02169
Hours: June 26 to Nov 20, Friday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Quincy Farmers Market takes place in Boston at the John Hancock parking lot on Friday afternoons and has been running since 1982. Find fresh locally grown produce, enjoy music and learn from nutritional counseling.
292 Forest St.
Needham, Ma. 02492
In Needham, this family farm has been growing a wide variety of vegetables and fruit since 1917, when they used to make deliveries to the Boston Produce Market at Fanueil Hall. A grand opening will open this 2012 season for the 95th year with a farmstand expansion enabling them to remain open year round.
Dedham Square Farmers Market
Dedham Square Circle
PO Box 593
Dedham, Ma. 02027
Hours: June to October, Wednesday Noon to 6 p.m.
Local farmers, bakers and lemonade makers meet wine, tea and homemade pasta makers. Purchase honey maple syrup and jam sold at Dedham Square Farmers Market.
Plymouth Farmers Market
137 Warren Ave.
Plymouth, Ma. 02360
Hours: June to October, Thursdays 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Plymouth Farmer’s Market opens once a month on Thursday afternoons at the Plimoth Plantation. You will find home grown and homemade food. You can also sign up for convenient home delivery of organic food.
Author Maryann Scheufele is a childrens literature examiner, storyteller, family literacy advocate, and a sometimes substitute visiting licensed English Teacher, living in the town of Plymouth in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.