Teenage Gardener Shares Tips for First-Time Growers

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Always wanted to garden but didn’t know where to start? Begin with your favorite flowers and veggies – and an easy container garden that can go in your yard, on your patio or deck.

There’s nothing quite like planting flowers to brighten up your yard and add some color, but gardening has many other benefits besides making your living space prettier. Planting and caring for a garden is something everyone in your house can enjoy because it’s easy and really fun!

Designed to fit alongside your house and in small spaces, this durable garden bed is deep so you can grow a full range of vegetables, flowers and plants. Plus, its strong galvanized steel will endure years of planting. Won’t crack like wooden beds.

Designed to fit alongside your house and in small spaces, this durable garden bed is deep so you can grow a full range of vegetables, flowers and plants. Plus, its strong galvanized steel will endure years of planting. Won’t crack like wooden beds.

When you’re deciding whether to create your own patch of fruits and veggies, some questions you should ask yourself are: Do I have the room for raised bed garden in a sunny spot outside? Do I have a few minutes a day to spend checking on, watering, nurturing and weeding my leafy little friends? Do I, or someone in my life, love the taste of fresh crunchy vegetables? If you answered YES, then you are ready to start your own garden.

The first step is deciding what you want to grow in your garden. I grow flowers to add color and attract butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as my family’s (and Winston Scott Churchill aka Winnie the Guinea Pig’s) favorite vegetables. You can grow from seed or buy sprouts from your local garden center. Purchase the potting soil, plant food and a container garden and you are all set.

First assemble your container garden – we chose this easy, affordable raised bed set. Setting it up was so easy my Mom and I did it in less than five minutes. There are four sides and corner pieces to hold them together. I made our garden 4 x 4 but you can add additional 4 x 4 sections, even adding a tiered design.

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Put down sheets of newspapers, and plastic (black trash bags work) to cut down on the weeds. Then dump the potting soil and plant food into the container, and make a nice muddy mess. I dug a small hole, put a splash of water into the hole, then planted my sprouts. It’s a wonderful feeling helping something grow and we can see it right outside the kitchen window. (By the way, we live in a woods and have problems with rabbits and deer eating our plants, so we put the raised bed on our deck.)

Before you know it, you’ll have a garden filled with beautiful flowers and/or delicious, ready-to-eat vegetables. You can have the oh-so-satisfying experience of harvesting them and how it feels to eat something you grew yourself. You’ll love the taste even more.

Gardening is a great way to get outdoors and spend time your with family. My family and I look forward to when we can plant our flowers and vegetables every year. We love watching them grow and enjoying their healthy crunch at the end – all organic, of course!

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  • Tips for first time gardeners:
    Plant what you like to eat! If your family doesn’t care for green beans, don’t plant them.
  • Planting flowers in pots first and then putting the pot in a hole so just the flowers show makes removing dead or unseasonal plants a breeze. This also helps keeps root separated so they don’t tangle together.
  • Grinding up egg shells and sprinkling them in your garden can help your plants to remain healthy. Epsom salts, orange peels and coffee grounds are also good for your plants.
  • To keep pets out of your garden, stick plastic forks, tong-side-up around it.
  • You can get your garden started inside until the weather is better and there is no danger of freezing (late May here in Ohio). It’s also fun to plant the seeds in egg shells and place them in the ground after they have sprouted.

    Conserve your water and keep plants growing happy. Using an ancient watering method, this unglazed terra cotta pot is buried underneath the soil and releases water through its pores directly to your plants' roots, so there's less evaporation and runoff. Just fill with water and put on the lid. At Lehmans.com.

    Conserve your water and keep plants growing happy. Using an ancient watering method, this unglazed terra cotta pot is buried underneath the soil and releases water through its pores directly to your plants’ roots, so there’s less evaporation and runoff. Just fill with water and put on the lid. At Lehmans.com.

  • It’s better to water less often and more each time, than a small amount every day. The small amount of water causes the roots to reach up, instead of burrowing down in the dirt.
  • Plant different crops at different times, so you have fresh produce all summer long.
  • Try a salsa garden – only plant what you need for fresh salsa (for example, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and green peppers). Home grown gifts are the best!

Editor’s Note: Alli Ervin, age 17, is an aspiring writer and daughter of VP of Marketing Glenda Lehman Ervin. Alli is a regular contributor to our blog; she writes from the “Youthview” perspective.

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