Hydroponics gardening guide – growing mediums used in hydroponics – Soil less Mixtures and Coconut Fiber

Hydroponics gardening guide – growing mediums used in hydroponics – Soil less Mixtures and Coconut Fiber

Soil less Mixtures

There is a great amount of soil less mixtures available, which contain different ingredients. Sphagnum moss, perlite, and vermiculite are the most widely spread hydroponics components, used in such mixtures.

Being organic, soil less growing media are usually used for container gardening wick systems or on-recovery drip systems. It is also possible to use soil less mixtures in recovery systems, however, it is necessary to remember that because of very fine particles in such mixtures, they can clog tubes, pumps and drip emitters, when used without a good filtration system. By the way, according to the urban gardeners, one can use panty hose as a filter: just fit it to the return line and to the pump inlet, and all the tiny particles will be filtered out.

Most soil less mixes form a good growing medium for multiple hydroponic and organic gardens, because they can hold water well, have great wicking action, and, at the same time, they provide a reasonable amount of air to the roots of growing plants.

 

Coconut Fiber

The popularity of coconut fiber as growing medium increases rapidly around the world. Being the first totally organic growing medium, providing highest performance for hydroponic systems, coconut fiber may soon become the most popular growing medium ever. It is interesting to note that coconut fiber is, actually, a waste product, which contains the powdered husks of coconuts.

In comparison to rockwool, coconut fiber is characterized with higher oxygen capacity and water retaining. These features are important advantages for hydroponic systems with intermittent watering cycles.

Coconut fiber also contains a lot of root stimulating hormones, thus offering some protection against fungus infestation and other root diseases. The mixture of 50% coconut fiber and 50% expanded clay pellets is considered to be the perfect growing medium.

However, it is necessary to underline one precaution when buying coconut fiber. Avoid purchasing a low grade coconut fiber, which is very fine grained and contains a high level of sea-salts. Such coconut fiber will have negative and disappointing effect on hydroponic system.

My name is guy. I am the founder and owner of the urbangardenershop.com.au . I fell in love with hydroponics gardening. As time went by I gathered a vast knowledge base and 2 years ago I decided to find a way to make hydroponics gardening a hobby that anyone can peruse. I added a hydroponic gardening information center to our hydroponic supplies site that offers a large range of hydroponics articles. Thank you for your interest and feel free to ask questions on hydroponics gardening in our site

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Ecological Gardening- what is it?

Ecological Gardening- what is it?

The term Ecological Gardening seems to be gaining popularity.  But what is it?  My experience with Ecological Gardening started many years ago.  You see, I have always been a fence sitter.  As a teenager I could never make my mind up whether I wanted to be a horticulturist or an environmental scientist.  And sometimes I’m still a little unsure!

 

Fortunately, I have been able to gain qualifications in both.  My specialty is in growing food using ecological principles.  But I’m not talking about some sort of alternative hippie technique.  I’m talking about sound scientific principles.

 

In my experience, the study of natural ecosystems will reveal everything we need to know about growing food.  Natural ecosystems are generally diverse and there are a number of intricate interdependent relationships occurring between the living and non-living components at any given time.  Put simply, each component relies and benefits from its interaction with other components.  They fuel up on each other, causing the system to be able to sustain itself.  If one part of the system gets ‘out of whack’, the whole system is affected.

 

When studying a natural ecosystem, such as a diverse pristine rainforest we find that there are many living components co-existing in a given area.  Each of these components occupies a niche space.  If a component, let’s say a plant, is removed by an animal eating it, we are left with an empty niche.  An empty niche provides an opportunity for another life form to fill the space.  In natural ecosystems, nature does not tolerate empty niche spaces.  Once the niche becomes available, there will be a whole host of willing opportunists ready to fill that space.  Dormant seeds, sometimes decades old, will spring to life and quickly try to occupy it.

 

The same thing happens when we are trying to grow food.  In any agricultural practice, such as a vegetable garden, there are always empty niche spaces.  And remember, nature doesn’t tolerate empty niche spaces.  So weeds will try to fill the empty niche spaces.  Weeds are very good niche space fillers.  They are the ultimate colonizing plants.  So as we can see there is no difference in the way nature works, whether it is in a pristine natural ecosystem or a vegetable garden.

 

Ecological Gardening aims to create a system where nature works for us, and not against us.  It is actually quite easy to have a weed-free vegetable garden.  You simply do one of two things.  Firstly, you avoid having empty niche spaces.  And secondly, you make sure there is something desirable to fill niche spaces, should they become available.  That’s just one simple example, but Ecological Gardening can easily prevent a number of problems from ever arising.

 

My experience with Ecological Gardening has been phenomenal.  I have been able to combine natural weed management, soil ecology, pest ecology and crop management into a very simple and easy method.  In fact, I have been able to create a garden that requires very little attention and produces far more than a traditional vegetable garden, simply by applying sound scientific principles.  And from the incredible results that I have achieved, I can say, with absolute certainty, that Ecological Gardening is the good way we will be producing food in the future.

Learn how to set up an organic vegetable garden that requires only 8 hours work per year! Discover how to plant an organic vegetable garden you can harvest ever day regardless of where you live HERE.

Bio-Intensive Gardening

Bio-Intensive Gardening

Bio-Intensive Gardening

This old method of home gardening is simply related to organic gardening although there’s a little twist on the application. It involves the process by digging the plots the same size with the plot at a 1-2 feet depth. Inside the dug portion, all the garden wastes, grass clippings and other plant waste materials are deposited to lay there for a couple of weeks to decompose. This is duplicated to other plots alternately in the garden.

7 Ways You Can Apply Bio-Intensive Gardening

1) Clear the area of all weeds, grass clippings and other waste materials.

2) Put garden waste, grass clippings and other yard wastes in certain place.

3) Layout your garden according to the size of plots you want. It can be 1m X 10m length or 1m X 20 m length plot if your area is wide.

4) On the first row or plot dig the soil according to the size and length of your plot 1-2 ” depth. Place the dug soil on the side of plot to make easier to return them back.

5) Gather all you wastes, grass clippings and other landscape wastes and put them inside the dug plot. Press them properly to compress inside the dug portion.

6) Return the dug soil back into the plots where the grass clippings are deposited and compact them to cover the whole plot. It makes the dug soil raised higher above the soil at around 1 foot high.

7) Make another dug area alternately with your plots until all your waste materials are totally buried under the soil.

After a couple of weeks, you can plant on top of the raised dug plots. The garden wastes are now totally decomposed and you can utilize planting other crops alternately.

Bio-Intensive gardening is effective in areas near urban centers and other populated locations. And this is recommended from environmentalists group since it’s favorable for organic gardening.

Cris Ramasasa, Freelance writer, writes about home gardening and Internet marketing tips. You can get a copy of his latest ebook “Discover How to get started in Flower Gardening” and “Vegetable Gardening Made Easy”, also get lots of tips, Free articles, and bonuses at: http://www.crisramasasa.com

Cris Ramasasa is a retired Horticulture teacher for 29 years and Freelance writer. Writes home gardening tips and resources. Written ebooks titled: Discover How To Get Started In Flower Gardening and Vegetable Gardening Made Easy. www.crisramasasa.com

Gardening Supply- The Vegetable Suppliers And Where To Find Them

Gardening Supply- The Vegetable Suppliers And Where To Find Them

As you look for gardening supply, the vegetable supplies are often found easily. However, where the supplies are bought from, actually matters. Most of times as you find that every gardening need you have could come from little pouches. This is not true when one is looking for high-quality ingredients for the gardening supply. The vegetable seeds or even bulbs for garlic and onions could be successful. It is, but a better choice to check out for other, still higher quality resources instead of them.

Find them- the place

For any gardening supply; be it vegetable or fruit supplies one should know where to look for them? In earlier times when the farms were readily available, the farmers or gardeners never tried turning to others for any supplies that was needed for the crops. This proves to be very expensive. They instead turned to their very own current crops. They would ensure to keep good amount of seeds from the produce of previous harvests in order to plant their crop again in the next year. It allowed absolutely at no cost and it provided them with consistent and high quality fruit and vegetable crop. The farmers were aware about what the seeds would yield, and took no risk at all about what other products were available in the gardening supply. The vegetables were found amazing, and tasted in the similar manner, too.

Today, however, it is not possible that one has a crop from which the gardening supplies could be gathered. The vegetable growers could look towards other growers, no matter what help is required. For an instance, you may visit your local farm requesting some seeds for trying them in your garden. Always ensure that all the produce which is bought from the farm has come from its actual fields. This would help you in knowing the quality.

In few other instances, one may essentially do even better with the available gardening supply. Most vegetable and fruits could often be bought from the organic growers locally. They can be then seeded by you. When the plant hasn’t been grown in such a manner i.e., not allowing for seeds, then one may find this as the best method for getting affordable gardening supplies. Fruits and vegetables used like this are the very best choices you would find.

Always take some time for checking some higher quality gardening supplies. Vegetables and fruits which are grown in such manner are very unique in their tastes and textures. They would be healthier too, especially when it is grown organically. One may look for varied sources of supplies in the gardening activities. IN most cases, you could even locate most of the growers right online.

Abhishek is an avid Gardening enthusiast and he has got some great Gardening Secrets up his sleeves! Download his FREE 57 Pages Ebook, “Your Garden – Neighbor’s Envy, Owner’s Pride!” from his website http://www.Gardening-Master.com/762/index.htm . Only limited Free Copies available.

Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Kids

Gardening with children can be so fulfilling, for you and for them.  Whether you are a teacher, a friend or a parent, you can enjoy some real quality time with the children that you care for. There are a few ways to make it fun for them.  Remember to have fun, encourage silliness and be open to the children’s ideas.  Kids really enjoy getting outside with adults and creating something.  Try to include things in the garden that the kids will really enjoy.  Have them set up hummingbird feeders, spinning wind catchers, wind chimes, and make vegetable markers or signs.  The more colorful and personal they make it, the more they will love it. Using hummingbird feeders, spinners and chimes will help give the kids some instant gratification.  It’s a lot more interesting than simply putting a seed in the dirt and walking away!  Set up a craft table in advance and let the kids decorate and design whatever they can think of to stick in the garden.  They can use construction paper, index cards, glue, glitter, beads and even seeds to decorate signs.  Use some laminating paper or dip in melted paraffin wax to waterproof signs. Sprouting seeds indoors is fun for kids and lets them see how roots grow towards the water and how leaves open up towards the sun.  Simply placing seeds on a wet paper towel and putting them into a sandwich bag will make them sprout rather quickly.  Then they can be placed in the dirt and have a better chance of survival than if you had only placed the seeds in the soil. Kids love the idea of introducing beneficial insects, butterflies, frogs and lizards into the garden.  Do a little research about your area and find out which insects are beneficial.  Your local nursery can usually provide you with useful information on which insects to introduce and where to get them.  Using living creatures to protect the vegetables from invaders is not only fun, but beneficial.  Teaching children how to garden organically will not only help them to ingest and absorb less chemicals now, but as they grow and plant their own gardens in the future.  Organic gardening is more fun, safer and better for their health. The fun isn’t over when the garden is planted.  Kids love to catch bugs and worms and then introduce them into the garden.  They can learn about recycling and composting while adding beneficial compost to their garden soil.  It will get richer by the year if you avoid chemical fertilizers.  Let them water with interesting containers or spray nozzles for the water hose.  Get an automatic <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/outgoing/article_exit_link']);” href=”http://www.roboreel.com”title=”Hose Reel”>hose reel</a> and let them do it all by themselves.  One with forward assist and automatic hose retrieval makes it easy for even very young children to feel important and participate in the family fun.  Happy gardening!

Gardening with children can be so fulfilling, for you and for them.  Whether you are a teacher, a friend or a parent, you can enjoy some real quality time with the children that you care for.

There are a few ways to make it fun for them.  Remember to have fun, encourage silliness and be open to the children’s ideas.  Kids really enjoy getting outside with adults and creating something.  Try to include things in the garden that the kids will really enjoy.  Have them set up hummingbird feeders, spinning wind catchers, wind chimes, and make vegetable markers or signs.  The more colorful and personal they make it, the more they will love it.

Using hummingbird feeders, spinners and chimes will help give the kids some instant gratification.  It’s a lot more interesting than simply putting a seed in the dirt and walking away!  Set up a craft table in advance and let the kids decorate and design whatever they can think of to stick in the garden.  They can use construction paper, index cards, glue, glitter, beads and even seeds to decorate signs.  Use some laminating paper or dip in melted paraffin wax to waterproof signs.

Sprouting seeds indoors is fun for kids and lets them see how roots grow towards the water and how leaves open up towards the sun.  Simply placing seeds on a wet paper towel and putting them into a sandwich bag will make them sprout rather quickly.  Then they can be placed in the dirt and have a better chance of survival than if you had only placed the seeds in the soil.

Kids love the idea of introducing beneficial insects, butterflies, frogs and lizards into the garden.  Do a little research about your area and find out which insects are beneficial.  Your local nursery can usually provide you with useful information on which insects to introduce and where to get them.  Using living creatures to protect the vegetables from invaders is not only fun, but beneficial.  Teaching children how to garden organically will not only help them to ingest and absorb less chemicals now, but as they grow and plant their own gardens in the future.  Organic gardening is more fun, safer and better for their health.

The fun isn’t over when the garden is planted.  Kids love to catch bugs and worms and then introduce them into the garden.  They can learn about recycling and composting while adding beneficial compost to their garden soil.  It will get richer by the year if you avoid chemical fertilizers.  Let them water with interesting containers or spray nozzles for the water hose.  Get an automatic hose reel and let them do it all by themselves.  One with forward assist and automatic hose retrieval makes it easy for even very young children to feel important and participate in the family fun.  Happy gardening!

About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is an award winning author and writer of web content for many different web sites. She is well versed in many different areas, including gardening, hose reel, lawn care and landscaping.

Tomato Gardening

Tomato Gardening

Tomatoes are in my opinion the best fruit vegetable there is. Cherry tomatoes with their sweet and tangy taste can be eaten whole. As they are small in size you can just pop them in your mouth. Tomatoes give salads a dash of red color. Pasta and pizza are made even tastier with fresh tomato sauce poured over them. And these are just some of the benefits you will get from tomato gardening.

While tomatoes come in many different shapes, sizes and colors there are actually only two varieties of tomatoes. One is the Determinates and the other is the Indeterminates. Determinate tomatoes grow on vines that stop growing at a certain point. These tomato plants are small and compact vines that produce fruits early in the growing season. Determinates tomatoes plants can be grown in containers or even in small spaces.

The best way to grow Determinates is to space them out about 1 to 2 feet apart. The tomato rows need to have a distance of 4 feet between them. With determinate tomato gardening if you wish to plant any other vegetables near the tomatoes, then you will need to keep some additional space around those tomato rows.

Indeterminates tomatoes on the other hand continue growing. They need support in the form of cages or trellises. The distance that you should keep between the cages is about 3 feet. Once the Indeterminate tomatoes have caught on to the trellis or their cage, you will need to train them to climb the supporting frame. Sometimes it will be necessary to tie the vines to the frame stakes so that the whole tomato plant does not fall over due to its own weight.

You can start your tomato gardening with seeds or starter plants brought from nurseries. The best new tomato plants are those without any yellow speckling on their leaves. The other thing to check is to make sure that your plant roots are not coming out of the containers bottom. The root’s growth can tell if your plant will grow successfully or if it will be stressed out and produce a poor harvest. For the best growth to be made, a good vegetable gardening tip is to see that your soil is a rich, sandy loam type of soil.

The best time to start tomato gardening is when all of the other trees in your garden are fully in leaf. By this time the season will be warm and your acclimatized tomato plants will receive about 8 hours or more of life giving sunlight. The roots of the tomatoes should be fully embedded within their soil bed. This lets the tomato receive all the nutrients that it can from the soil.

With tomato gardening you need to keep an eye on the weather. Hot sunny days might be great for you, but they mean that your tomato plants will need regular watering at least once a week. Other than this you can sit back and relax. Once your tomatoes are fully ripe, just pluck them off the vines and enjoy your fresh tomatoes.

We live in Maui and grow our own fresh organic food.
Publisher of The Gardeners Handbook
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Organic Pest Control Gardening for Greenhouse Gardeners

Organic Pest Control Gardening for Greenhouse Gardeners

Eating organic produce is a growing trend in today’s eco-conscious and health centric world.  To that end, many families have turned to growing their own food at home so they can ensure a completely organic diet, and greenhouse gardening is one means of growing produce almost year-round.  However, even the strictest organic gardener must have some method of controlling common garden pests.  In this article, we’ll explore some organic pest control methods for greenhouse gardeners.

One of the major benefits of greenhouse gardening, aside from the obvious fact that your gardening activities can be extended into cooler months of the year, is that a greenhouse provides a physical barrier against some pests.  For example, moles, rabbits, and birds will not be an issue when cultivating plants in a greenhouse.  Greenhouses do also provide some added protection against various insects, though it is still possible to have infestations of common garden insects inside a greenhouse, so we’ll focus our organic pest control methods on insects.

One of the easiest ways to repel insects is through companion planting.  Almost every variety of insect has an aversion to some particular plant or another.  For example, marigolds planted among beans or potatoes will repel Colorado potato beetles and Mexican bean beetles.  Chives or garlic planted among lettuce or peas will deter aphids, and nasturtiums planted throughout your vegetables will deter a whole host of pests including cucumber beetles and squash bugs.  This is only a very small example of the various types of plants that can be paired together to repel pests.  For a more complete list, refer to a gardening resource book or website.

When companion planting doesn’t work, it may be time to take your organic pest control to the next level: applications.  There are numerous organic products on the market that can be applied to your plants to deter garden pests.  Simply make a visit to your local nursery or garden center and you’ll be presented with an array of options ranging from predator urine in concentrated form to various fish oils and soaps.  Without spending a lot of money, one inexpensive homemade application is a mixture of water and dish detergent.  Begin with a very weak mixture, approximately 1 tablespoon of dish soap to a gallon of water.  Spray carefully onto a few leaves of one or two plants, and then watch the plants closely over the next day to be sure the foliage doesn’t die back.  If the few sprayed leaves respond well, then you can spray the solution over the entire plant, making sure to spray both the tops and bottoms of all leaves.  If this doesn’t kill the insects, you may need a stronger solution, up to 3 tablespoons of soap per gallon of water.  Just be sure to carefully test each stronger solution on a few leaves before spraying all over your plants.

When all else fails, manually picking insects off your plants can be effective, too, if the infestation hasn’t gotten too out of control.  Pick off all adult insects, and be sure to gather any eggs and larvae as well.  If you do this twice daily over a period of a week, you should notice the damage to your plants reduced considerably.

There is no doubt that organic gardening will continue to gain in popularity as the world becomes more aware of environmental and health concerns caused by chemical pesticides and fertilizers.  Growing your own produce at home is easy and inexpensive, and greenhouse gardeners who want to go organic shouldn’t be deterred by concerns about garden pests.  There are many tried and true methods of organic pest control that have worked for farmers for centuries, and they will work for you at home, too.

Home Products ‘N’ More offers free shipping on all home greenhouses and wholesale greenhouse supplies. For more information, visit us at http://www.homeproductsnmore.com/Backyard_Greenhouse_s/123.htm

How To Start Organic Home Gardening

How To Start Organic Home Gardening

The quest for safer, more nutritious produce has turned many on to the idea of organic home gardening. Organic gardening is not a complex task to undertake and it doesn’t take a lot of money to begin. With a few basics and a plot of ground, you can begin your own organic home right in your own backyard. We’ve got the steps to get you started in organic home gardening, so you will be ready to plant your own crops as soon as the next growing season rolls around.

The first step in beginning your own organic home gardening experience is to understand exactly what we mean by organic gardening. An organic garden is one that does not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or synthetic ingredients of any kind. Instead, elements from nature are used to feed and protect the crops so they can grow as naturally as possible. Organic gardens are good for the environment as well as healthy and nutritious for the people who eat their harvests.

The first step in successful organic home gardening is a healthy soil in which crops of all kinds can thrive. The way to get nutrient-rich soil without relying on chemical fertilizers is through natural compost that comes right from your own garbage pail. These ingredients can be kept in a makeshift compost bin right in your own backyard, until it is ready to be added to your garden soil. Avoid adding ingredients to your compost pile like plants that have previously been treated with chemical pesticides, meat or dairy products or animal waste.

Once it is time to ready your garden soil for planting, begin by adding your organic compost and then spade it into the rest of the soil. You can also perform a soil test on a sampling of your soil to ensure it is appropriately balanced with all the nutrients your garden will need to thrive. You can opt to have your soil tested professionally by taking it into your local extension office or nursery, or you can test it at home using a kit you purchase from your garden center. Preparing the soil is probably the most important step in the entire process, since healthy soil reduces the risk of pests or diseases harming your crops.

Organic home gardening is an excellent way to expand your gardening repertoire. When you begin with your own organic compost and healthy soil, you are much more likely to enjoy healthy, thriving crops. A bountiful harvest will ensure everyone in your family appreciates your organic gardening efforts to the fullest.

If you are interested in finding out more information about Organic Gardening then check out this great site which is full of great articles at Gardeners Supply and start transforming your garden today.

Organic Home Gardening – Getting Started with the Basics

Organic Home Gardening – Getting Started with the Basics

Have you ever thought about gardening organically at home, but weren’t sure where to start?

Many gardeners would love to garden without all the chemicals and sprays, but worry that organic home gardening is difficult and time consuming. Not so! It can be a straightforward and easy way to garden. And it’s also cheaper as you no longer have all those chemicals and sprays to buy.

In this article we’ll look at the basics of organic gardening – they keys to getting a good foundation so your plants have the best possible chance of success. We’ll look at how to prepare your soil, and see how easy it actually is to understand and improve your soil from the outset. We’ll also have a quick look at the bugs in your garden, and how you can protect your plants from the bad ones, and encourage the good ones.

Organic gardening may require a little more time and understanding from you as a gardener, however the rewards and satisfaction are huge. Read on to find out the basics you need to know.

The main things to know about organic gardening:

Soil:
Your soil is the lifeblood of your plants, and time spent now (boring as it is!) will really help you later. Firstly, you need to understand what type of soil you have. Most soils fall along a continuum from sandy to clay, and all can be improved by digging in rich organic matter. It also helps to know the acidity of your soil and the easiest way to find out is using a pH testing kit from your local garden center. These are very simply to use and will let you know if your soil is acid, alkaline, or just right. Ideally you want your soil to be just slightly acid – between 6.0 and 7.0 pH is ideal – and there are a number of organic ways we can achieve this. If you need to improve the pH of your soil then your garden center is your best place to start, as they will understand the soil types in your region.

Once you start gardening then feeding your soil twice a year with organic fertilizers and compost will help keep your soil in great condition.

Plants:
If growing from seed then you can find a huge range of organic seeds available these days. It’s also best to try to find plants that are naturally disease resistant – they will often say so on the packet. Heritage seeds can be ideal, and also provide another point of interest in your garden. If you’re growing vegetables, then only plant vegetables that you will eat! This will help to keep you interested in your garden and reduce waste.

Finally, work out a crop rotation plan to help maintain the health of your soil. A 4 year rotation plan is ideal.

Pest Control:
Pests are a constant menace in the garden and tend to worry organic gardeners in particular. However there are a range of pest control methods available. These can include companion planting, manually removing the bugs – either from the plant or the planet, depending on how annoyed you are with them – and there are also a range of homemade organic sprays and teas which can be very effective. A simple spray of dishwashing detergent (only a few drops), water and neem oil is great for aphids, whitefly and other pests.

But remember that your garden needs the good insects such as ladybugs and hoverflies, so be careful when you spray.

Fertilizers and soil conditioning:
Homemade fertilizers and compost are a great way to feed your soil and also reduce your household waste – all your green waste can go into your compost bin and worm farm. Generally, depending on your climate, homemade compost will be ready to use after 3 to 4 months. It will smell sweet and be crumbly in your hand.

Fertilizers can also be animal-based if you have a local friendly farmer with a ready supply of the main ingredient, however if you are using animal manure make sure it is completely rotted and decomposed before you add to your garden.

Equipment:
The only other equipment you may want to consider when gardening organically is a compost bin or worm farm. You can buy these from your garden centre or make one yourself. Just ensure that your bins are easy to reach from the house on a clean path, otherwise you are less likely to add your green waste.

And now you’re ready to plant! I wish you happy, healthy and successful gardening.

Fi McMurray is a garden enthusiast and author who has been gardening organically for 10 years. She has been involved with 2 award-winning gardens at the prestigious Ellerslie International Flower Show in Auckland, New Zealand.

Her latest book is “An Introduction to Successful Organic Gardening”, which joins her previous books “Successful Rose Gardening” and “Secrets to a Thriving Herb Garden”. You can find out more about Fi’s books at her website, www.fimcmurray.com

Fi lives north of Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband and two small children.

Make Gardening a Family Event

Make Gardening a Family Event

Show them how much you enjoy gardening. Spend time in your garden. It is especially easy to stimulate a child’s interests when they see you having fun.

Make gardening easy. Don’t expect a perfect garden. Allow your family to work at their own pace and within their attention spans and age range, especially children.

Dig it! Kids love to dig. This is a great way to teach the basics while letting them play and just have fun. 

Let them play an active role in planning. Take your children to the local nursery and let them pick seeds or transplants to start their garden. Take your time and let them browse and enjoy all of the beautiful plants.

Grow a theme garden. This is a great way to let your children use their imagination and express their creativity. The sky is the limit. Some great ideas are gardens that coincide with the holidays, alphabet gardens, a garden themed in their favorite colors, a sensory garden where you can experience different smells, tastes, textures and sights, or a “Freedom Garden”.

Give children their own “kid sized” tools. They don’t have to be expensive. You can go with an old spoon and a bucket that you have around the house or you can venture down to the garden center and purchase garden tools made for children’s hands.

Give them a space to call their own. It doesn’t have to be big. This will teach them ownership and responsibility, and your children will be able to take credit for their own little space.

Get crafty! Press or dry flowers to make a beautiful arrangement, make potpourri, or make a pomander ball. Children love making things and will be amazed at the crafts and gifts that they can make from the garden.

Grow a vegetable garden. Your children will be amazed that they can grow their own food. Be sure to use organic pesticides.

Use gardening to brush up your children’s math and science skills. Let them count the seeds they are planting, or teach them how plants are living things. Not only will you capture their attention, you will be polishing their skills as you go.

Have a contest. Kids love to be rewarded. Be sure to give each child a reward; the biggest tomato, the prettiest flower, or perhaps the best tasting herbs (a little Spray-N-Grow will help!)

Don’t try to do it all! Pick a few of these tips that you know are best for your family and have fun with them. After all, gardening is meant to be fun and easy. And with a little help, something the whole family can enjoy.

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