How to Start a Family Garden

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 22, 2022
5 min read

Starting a family garden is a great way to introduce fruits and veggies into your meal plan and engage your children in the backyard. According to a National Gardening Association report, 35% of U.S. households grow food in their backyard or use a community garden.

A home garden is great for you and your family to work together and grow the food you can share at dinner. Gardening is a great way to get outdoors and get your children excited about caring for their crops. Plus, you can preserve any extra vegetables you grow. This is great for having home-grown vegetables during the winter months.

Starting a garden together can help family bonding and make your child feel like a contributor. Family gardens create a sense of cooperation, loyalty, responsibility, and togetherness. Below, you'll find tips on starting a family garden and making the most of it.

The first step to gardening with family is to make a plan. You'll want to map out the best place in your backyard to put the garden, which should get about eight to 10 hours of sunlight daily.

Make sure this spot is conveniently placed near your house and has easy water access. You can either use a raised garden box or put the garden into the soil in your backyard. But you'll need soil that has a good texture and can drain well.

When planning, you want to map out what vegetables you're planting and where. You can find a variety of seeds that work best for the season and the type of climate you're in.

Your garden can be small. It can contain the necessary vegetables and fruits or flowers you want. The beauty of a family garden is that you can make it whatever you want. This is a great time to include your children and ask them what foods they like.

There are many benefits to gardening with family. You can create engaging minilessons for your child in the garden. A garden is great if you want your children to discover more outside and less inside on their tablets. Children of all ages can help you with the garden because there are many different things to take care of. Gardening lets your kids explore hands-on. 

Research has shown that families that garden together have increased well-being and better health. Part of the reason is that children get more vegetables when they eat food that they grow. Gardening also is great for stress relief, relaxation, and overall physical well-being. Plus, you get quality time with your child in your own backyard.

Most children love gardening because they're natural explorers. They love learning new things and experimenting, and a garden is a perfect place for that. The four basic developmental skills that come from gardening together include: 

  • Mastery
  • Belonging
  • Generosity 
  • Confidence 

Another benefit of a family garden is the time you spend planning together. Creating a new garden helps you and your family work together toward one common goal. The physical benefits of a family garden include vitamin D exposure. Getting out in the sun is great for you and your child. Make sure you both wear sunscreen, though.

Starting a family garden is good for the environment. A garden can help teach your child how to be more eco-friendly. Explain to them the difference that getting vegetables from home versus getting them from the superstore makes for the environment.

Starting a garden is something that you can do with the whole family, whether it's your small toddler or your teenager. When you start a garden with your children, you'll develop a love for going outside and checking on the things you're growing.

Gardening with family should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. If you've never gardened before, make sure you're being kind to yourself and your children. You don't have to be a master gardener to have a good time and bond with your family. 

Harvest time is one of the most rewarding parts of starting a garden. After months of labor and love, you should begin to reap the benefits with the vegetables or fruits you've grown.

There are many ways to make gardening fun. Designing the space and getting input from your child is a great way to make everyone feel involved. Let your child take responsibility when thinking of family garden ideas.

One idea for kids with a short attention span is growing radishes. Even if you don't like radishes, they have a short growth period and sprout in three to four days. It's a quick way to show your children how nice it feels to help something grow.

Another idea to make gardening fun with your kids is having all the right tools. Let them pick out their gloves or their shovels. Let them choose a fun watering can to use. Wherever you can incorporate their choices will help make it a more fun experience.

Your garden can include more than vegetables and fruits. You can grow pretty flowers like marigolds and sunflowers if your child wants. Flowers are a great way to add color to your backyard and make for a fun project inside after you've gathered them.

Another option outside for your garden is adding plants with different scents. Some easy herbs to grow include chives and mint.

For a successful family garden, make sure you have a plan to care for the vegetables. Weeding and watering are two main essential parts of tending to your garden. You can create a schedule for each child or yourself to go out and weed once a week. A daily watering schedule will also help keep your garden healthy.

When fertilizing your garden, use only food-safe fertilizers and pesticides. Even then, make sure you wash your fruits and vegetables under running water before serving them to your family. You can clean them with a produce brush if you have firm produce.

Washing, cutting, and storing your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator can help make your produce last longer.

If you produce more food than what your family can eat, you can always store it away for the winter. Or you and your children can take a trip to a food bank and donate leftover produce.

The most important thing when starting a family garden is to have fun and make it enjoyable for the whole family.