Do you have an interest in gardening but don’t know where to start?
In celebration of National Gardening Day, Go Red For Women sat down with Sharon Lovejoy, gardening expert and author of Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children, to glean a few tips for beginners and to get her suggestions on gardening as a physical activity.
Choosing plant pots, containers and soil
Start small with your garden, especially if it is your first foray into the activity. Purchase a bag of weed-free potting soil and a pot from a plant store, Lovejoy recommends. To make things even more fun, consider involving your children in the container decision. Creativity is key.
“A potting container can really be anything as long as it has drainage holes at the bottom,” she says. “I’ve planted radishes with my son in worn out rain boots, buckets and wheelbarrows.”
Gardening can give you an excellent cardio workout and be a great way of staying in shape. In preparation of a day at the garden, Lovejoy goes out for a walk to get her muscles warmed up first.
“I’ll do some stretches and some walking in the early morning,” she says. “It helps prevent pain while gardening. Once I get to my garden, I make sure to bend my legs when bending over. I never bend at the waist because it could hurt my back.”
Plant in spurts
For an effective workout, Lovejoy recommends gardening in 20-minute intervals.
“I’ll rake, shovel or plant for 20 minutes,” she says. “Then I’ll go back an hour later and do another 20 minutes in the garden. Sometimes, I’ll do that up to five times in a day.”
Herb, plant or flower garden
You can plant herb, plant or flower seeds separately in separate planting containers. This can help you figure out how much water each type of seed really needs. Alternatively, Lovejoy recommends purchasing flower, herb and vegetable seeds and planting them next to each other.
“You don’t need to have a strictly-herb garden or a strictly-flower garden,” she says. “Try a bunch of different seeds and watch what happens. It’s fun to have a diverse mix.”
Involve your children in your gardening activities
Gardening is a great activity to do with your kids, Lovejoy says, adding that children love to see a seed grow into a plant.
She recommends introducing children to gardening by planting carrots and radishes. Both types of seeds can be placed into a pot with drainage holes, watered gently every day and will grow quickly.
“It’s a great way to introduce your kids to healthy food options,” she says. “My grandkids will fight each other to harvest carrots and then eat them raw. That’s a lot healthier and more educational than picking up most pre-packaged snacks.”
Learn more about seasonal fruits and vegetables to help your garden grow on Go Red.