I want to start a new garden with my kid's help

I'd like to start a small, (sq ft) vegetable container garden with my 7 yr old son. Our dog just died and I think a healthy hobby would do him good, especially where the plants need him to take care of them. I want to start it in plastic or wooden tubs so that we can move them around if the light isn't suitable. What's easy to grow, in S FL, for beginners? Any advice?
  13 answers
  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 28, 2016
    hi! sorry to hear about your fur friend :( i'll start with the basics... the least expensive option for an above ground portable garden are grow sacks. not the ones from amazon...but the ones found at commercial grower's catalogs. yup industrial vibe/ my growers supply catalog has the 3 gal. for 28 cents, the 5 gal for 38 cents and a 7 gal. for 43 cents. my mom brags when she scores a pot for her house plants at the thrift store and spends 75 cents on it. i use the 5 gal size for tomatoes and peppers, bush green beans and eggplant. i can reuse these sacks for a few yrs.... I have also been known to put the sacks with plants into my little red wagon, and wheel them around to the sunshine. now to fill the sacks...equal parts pearlite, coir or peat moss, compost, and i like a bit of topsoil in the mix. you will also need to fertilize the plants on a reg schedule, and add nutrients to the tomatoes- bone meal for instance. how about a themed garden? Mexican food a fave? jalapenos, sweet peppers, tomatoes and onions and garlic, cilantro, parsley,oregano. use a 3 gal. bag for the herbs. into Italian foods? the Italian paste tomato (heirloom variety) sweet peppers, onions, parsley, basil, oregano rosemary, thyme,savory and a few hot red peppers. really in a pinch money wise? get your seed from the seedsavers.org exchange in decorah ia. just google seed savers. these are heirloom varieties. the mature fruit will produce seeds that if harvested correctly will grow into new plants true to the parents. . ie buy one package of seed and have a lifetime supply. hope this helps!
  • Susan MacFarlan Susan MacFarlan on Jan 28, 2016
    I built myself a 4x8 raised bed garden. I would say you could grow chard, tomatoes, lettuce in containers. I buy organic celery and lettuce then plant the ends and they regrow. Drill pretty good sized holes about an inch from the bottom around the outside of the container(if you are not using conventional pots.) Drainage is important. If you leave that inch at the bottom, water will collect there, and the plant roots will grow straight down to seek water. I have grown container celery, lettuce, tomatoes and chard. Good luck.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 28, 2016
    Start with tomatoes,lettuce,peppers pretty much these are the basics for growing in pots.I would also maybe put a few pots around to attract butterflies.Perennials such as salvias,coneflowers,even dwarf butterfly bushes.I think you son would enjoy watching them as they are truly amazing.
  • Joan Joan on Jan 28, 2016
    I would get creative with him, he is 7 so you can't just throw some seeds in and wait. He will get bored with that quite quickly. Start with a rubbermaid container the size you want, and go from there. Pole beans grow very fast and add height, mini pumpkins and squash flowing over the side is great too, then fill the rest bits of this and bits of that. You have so much to choose from in your zone. Planning is half the fun. I hope that this helps.
  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Jan 28, 2016
    Definitely tomatoes.. easy to grow and he can watch the tomato from start to finish from where it flowers then the tomato appears then gets bigger starts to change from green and finally to red... you can brag on him about how well he's taking care of them and teach him that the plant responds to his care. also flowers nearby to attract bees and butterflies are a good learning tool to teach how the pollen is carried by the insect from one flower to another to help the plant produce its seed for next year... dwarf zinnias marigolds and petunias come in a variety of colors. For his age I would keep it small so it doesnt get away from him being this is his first time with plants.. if he does well you can expand on it next year. Hope this helps
  • Pascale Nguyen Pascale Nguyen on Jan 28, 2016
    Sorry about your loss :(. I bought this raised garden from Home Depot. It's affordable and low maintenance. It's easy to put together and you can move it around.You get go into YouTube to watch how to install before you buy it. http://www.homedepot.com/p/CITY-PICKERS-24-5-in-x-20-5-in-Patio-Raised-Garden-Bed-Kit-with-Watering-System-and-Casters-in-Terra-Cotta-2340D/202563845. Have fun with your son. I would give you a picture but it's buried with snow right now!
  • Tam Castro Tam Castro on Jan 28, 2016
    I made raised beds using concrete blocks, cheap and last forever,, unlike wood or plastic,, you can look on crags list and get them free at times... I add fishing worms to the soil, I only grow organic tho., good luck growing
  • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 28, 2016
    First, I am so sorry about your pet. What a great way to keep your son as a caregiver by starting a garden! I'd like to suggest two books for you to look at. Both are by the children's author, Lois Ehlert. She has beautiful illustrations and these books might visually get your son interested. The titles are "Growing the Rainbow" (flowers) and "Growing the Alphabet"(vegetables). Consider an herb garden of fresh herbs of basil, rosemary, cilantro, etc. these can be added to all sorts of recipes and the aromatic element is awesome. Best wishes!
  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Jan 28, 2016
    I would ask your son what veggies he really likes and see if they are suitable to plant in the container(s) and have him add one veggie that he's not really fond of, but doesn't hate. Tuck in some marigolds to give it some color and attract beneficial insects and he should be good to go/grow. So sorry for the loss of the dog. It is especially hard on a child that has been raised with the pet but you are doing the right thing to get his mind off of it and channeling his thoughts to some other project.
  • Marilyn Marilyn on Jan 28, 2016
    I'd suggest cherry tomatoes. Mine reseed by themselves and come up year after year. I use a heirloom type. North Florida
  • Karyn Moore Karyn Moore on Jan 28, 2016
    Why not try a hay bale garden? It is cheap and very portable. Look at seed catalogues, like Stokes and pick some of the new coloured veggies. I saw carrots in purple and pink and there is a new chocolate chip tomato.
  • Tam Castro Tam Castro on Jan 28, 2016
    this shows both block and wood,, just lay news papers and then card broad down then set up your bed and then add soil...I get a mix of cow manure and compose mix from home depot... few dollars a bag.. my wood bed also came from home depot I put mulch around the out side to keep the weed down.... you could start with plastic tubs,,, have fun growing..
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Jan 29, 2016
    Great examples Tam. The garden could be any size using blocks. Layers of cardboard are great for blocking our anything that is growing under your "garden" so no need to dig up before planting. Easier still for the soil. I used Miracle Grow Raised Bed Soil for one of my "refreshed" beds this past fall. Truly sorry about your dog.
    • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Feb 04, 2016
      @Thank You MaryAnn B thanks for the thoughts.I didn't think to lay cardboard down to block weeds.I'm so glad I read Hometalk, to learn these great hints!