Place a cute planter — like this hollowed out one with a little door — to hold some edibles.

You just might be amazed at how easy it is to grow a garden with your family. Whether you want vegetables, flowers, or fresh herbs, gardening together can yield benefits like teamwork, teachable-moments, and of course edible and visual delights.

You do not need a large space to plant seeds or seedlings. Little green thumbs or big people’s hands can experience the pleasure of plants growing in a pot or in a larger patch of soil to harvest berries, basil, beans, and blooms. Consider a fairy garden that is sure to inspire creativity and invite fantasy while being practical.

Ready? Follow this recipe for success and you will see your work come to fruition:

Ingredients

  • Seeds or seedlings
  • Soil
  • Appropriate sunlight
  • Water
  • Decorative touches
  • Love

Directions

  1. Choose fresh seeds and strong seedlings. Read the seed package’s best before date and buy strong seedlings from (my preferred go-to) family-run greenhouses. Be careful to purchase only items appropriate to the hours of sunlight needed in the desired location (see #3).
  2. Get ideal soil. A mixture of compost and black dirt with worm casings (earth worm poop!) hold the greatest nutrients to nurture roots, stems, blossoms, and bounty. I encourage you and your family to touch, smell, and play with the soil too. This helps to trigger healthy physiological responses, so get down and get dirty!
  3. Determine light requirements. No matter if it be a patio pot, fairy garden, or low-lying flower or vegetable bed, you need to ensure you have enough sunlight or shade for the healthiest plants. Read the seed package and ask greenhouse staff if you are not sure.
  4. Water! Enlist the help of all family members to quench the thirst of garden plants. Plants in patio pots dry out faster, so be mindful of their requirements. As a tip, consider using grass clippings, rocks, or bark chips to help retain moisture. 
  5. Decorate. How about adding some colored rocks or steppingstones to the garden area? Let your child’s imagination be the guide: nestle petite fairies, gnomes, tree stumps, twigs, glass balls, and decorative bugs in between the plants. This will make the responsibility of tending a garden fun at the same time. 
  6. Care. Enthusiasm for gardening tends to decline once school is out for the summer. But your garden needs daily love throughout the season: weed, water, prune, and harvest to keep production going. Fill the vases, gather the greens, and clip the herbs to nourish your family visually and physically. Do not forget to play in the dirt too!
  7. Enjoy. No matter if it is digging in the soil, arranging shiny stones, or collecting fresh produce, fun is the name of the game, so enjoy what the garden experience offers!

Garden Celebration Salad

Use fresh produce and basil to increase the flavor. Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orange bell pepper, or any colour chopped
  • 2 cups cucumber with skin, chopped
  • 16 to 20 small colorful tomatoes halved
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese cubed
  • 1 cup black beans cooked, drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp basil fresh, chopped
  • mineral salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp dark balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Drain black beans if using canned (or cook if using dried).

  2. Chop all vegetables. Cube feta cheese.

  3. Add beans, vegetables, and cheese to a bowl. Mix gently.

  4. Add oil and vinegar. Toss gently.

  5. Season to taste: use mineral salt, fresh or dried basil, or other spices.