Spring has sprung here in Virginia and we enjoyed a warm day that hit the high 80’s!  A couple weeks ago, we planted some spinach, arugula and swiss chard seeds.  We also had put in some young plants (cabbage, collard greens, and more spinach).  We thought we should check them out to see how they are doing. Planting a garden is something my parents did with great success in Pennsylvania when I was kid.  I have wanted to do this with my own kids, but so far I have not had much success. Last year I bought a great book called “All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!” by Mel Bartholomew.  It outlines an easy way to start a small garden in raised beds.  If you are thinking of starting a small garden with your kids this spring I would highly recommend it.  Teaching your kids how food is grown and getting them involved in growing it may inspire them to try new foods and give them an appreciation of where their food comes from.

Last year we built three raised beds at my mom and dad’s house, where she has a nice flat sunny space.  We purchased untreated lumbar at Home Depot and the Vermiculite, Peat Moss, and Compost (3 three components needed to fill your raised beds) at Roxbury Farm, for those of you in Fredericksburg.  We also found a flat spot at home near our pond and built another raised bed.  We had high hopes, but for a number of reasons, things did not go well, and had only a few measly vegetables to show for it.

This year I’m trying again, with an earlier start.  I am determined to get a least the equivalent of one salad! Today when we checked on the garden at home, our seeds had sprouted but looked like they would be happy to have a drink.  Some of our young plants looked like they were hanging in there, others looked like they had been hung up.

While we watered, we got a visit from our neighborhood swan, Matilda, who was taking a break from sitting on her 6 eggs.  Matilda, a longtime widow, has a new boyfriend, so we are all hoping she actually has some babies this year!

We have also started some peppers and lettuce from seed indoors weeks, but honestly I would be very surprised if any of them survive long enough to be harvested.  I do not have green thumb, CLEARLY.   If anyone has any suggestions for me along the way about how to better my harvest, please let me know!  I would also love to hear about your gardening stories. I hope to post an update every couple of weeks on how the garden is going.  I found a great site with some ideas about gardening with kids called Kiddie Gardens.

Stay tuned for our Container Herb Garden, which we will restart in a couple weeks.  Growing Herbs is a great very cost efficient way of exposing kids to the taste and health benefits of fresh herbs.  We do this every summer and even I can say it’s EASY!!

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