Seattle springs are the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. There’s no better people to enjoy it with than family. You won’t have to look any further than your own backyard for a great way to reconnect with your kids and teach them the value of caring for a living thing by creating your own family vegetable garden.

1. Choose a size. Decide how big you want to make your vegetable garden. You need at least one square foot for 16 small sized vegetables like radishes, nine medium sized like beets, or four large sized like leaf lettuce. Using this square foot method, add as many squares as your family would like. If you’re new to gardening vegetables, you may want to keep it small in the beginning, so as not to overwhelm yourself.

2. Pick your veggies. Next, decide what kinds of vegetables your family would like to grow. The weather in the Pacific Northwest has always been unpredictable at best, so a visit to your local nursery to find which vegetables will be more tolerable to less sunlight, or even a sudden frost onset, would be in your best interest. Some examples of vegetables that can stand up to Seattle’s weather are carrots, beets and radishes. Also lettuces and leafy greens can hold up. Just be sure to use mulch to reduce the growth of weeds.

3. Make sure your soil is good enough to grow in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Utilizing the knowledge of your local gardening centers will help you from wasting all your hard work by killing your plants. Find out which is better, tilling the soil, using a raised garden or creating in a gardening box, and have them pick out the best potting soil for your vegetables. If you are going to use the backyard, ask about all the different kinds of fertilizers and how best to use them.

4. Find the right tools. When you’ve chosen which style of garden you want, you’ll need the proper gardening tools. The essentials are a shovel, rake, trowel, hand cultivator and shears. Read the instructions that come with your vegetable seeds on how far to space them from each other and how deep in the ground they should grow. A good rule of thumb is to place them a half-an-inch apart and a half-an-inch deep. Keep the soil moist; at least one inch of water a week for them to thrive.

5. Have fun! Making a drawing of what you want the garden to look like and having a scavenger hunt to find all the proper tools and fertilizer are some great ways to be creative with the kids. Have the children research the best ways to naturally keep pests at bay and enjoy your family’s new garden.

These local businesses can help you get started:

Swanson’s Nursery
9701 15th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 782-2543
www.swansonsnursery.com

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily

You can pick up vegetable starts, seeds and more at Swanson’s Nursery, a local favorite.

West Seattle Nursery and Garden Center
5275 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136
(206) 935-9276
www.westseattlenursery.com

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily with seasonal hours

West Seattle Nursery and Garden Center has a great selection of gardening tools to get you started.

Magnolia Garden Center
3213 West Smith
Seattle, WA 98199
(206) 284-1161
www.magnoliagarden.com

Hours: Mon to Fri – 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Magnolia Garden Center has everything from fruit trees and shrubs to herbs, mulches and soil. There’s even a gift shop for seasonal items and decorative accessories.

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSSeattle/YourHome.

Tammy Robinson is a chef, writer and mother who resides in Puyallup, WA and has lived in the great Pacific Northwest her whole life. She has worked as everything from a grocery bagger, barista, or florist to a tournant for a catering company and a dinner cook. She now works from home as a writer, which allows her to raise her young children without missing a single step they make. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

 

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