Green Thumb Anyone?

Updated on February 13, 2012
A.F. asks from Allentown, PA
7 answers

So we plan on planting a garden this summer with our soon to be 5 year old. Our backyard has a coldframe(previous owner). We eat a lot of fresh veggies so feel it would beneficial. Interested in lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, squash, carrots...those type of things. And an herb garden! So any bits of advice for success? This will be our first time. Just looking to do a plant or 2 of each. Thanks for any insight you can offer me!

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So What Happened?

So thankful for all your great suggestions! Everything is planted...we will see what happens!! My son is thrilled:) Thank you!

More Answers



answers from Boston on

Square Foot Gardening is a good book to get you started. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

my kids love it. We planted 6 pepper plants last year. You can plant them about a foot apart - they worked out great. They were from seeds from a store-bought red pepper!! We also planted 4 types of tomato - 100's were my kids favorite. Produced tons and tons. Again, 6 of those. We planted about 9 bean plants, but they didn't produce enough for us. Also planted a number of pea plants - again, plant a large number close together. The squash take up a lot of room so need planting far apart. Watch out for blossom end rot with them. I start everything from seed, some saved, such as peppers mentioned above, tomatoes, peas. Others I buy - they're cheap enough. One way to start inside is to put soil in a broken egg shell, and put this in a egg carton. Add 2-3 seeds per egg shell, so you can pick the best later. Water and give plenty of sun. When it's time to plant outside, take out the eggshell, crack the bottom and put it in the ground. Doing this keeps the tender plant in tact, and lets the eggshell add nutrients to the soil.
good luck and enjoy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Things that you can pick and eat off the plant will keep a little one interested--cherry tomatoes, green beans, peas, strawberries, etc.

I second the comment about the Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew. You can find it on Amazon, or I've even seen it at Lowe's. There's also a square foot gardening forum, where you should be able to find a thread for your area of the country.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Before you plant anything, make sure the soil is good. Every couple of years, I mix a bag of garden soil (like miracle grow garden soil) into the existing soil to make sure the nutrients are depleted.

If you plan to start from seed, get one of the plastic peat containers (dark bottom, clear lid) that you see anywhere that they sell seed. They are great, because they keep the seeds most and act as a little incubator. Use these to start your tomatoes, peppers, and squash in mid-Feb.

Lettuce and carrots can be seeded directly into the ground as soon as the ground thaws. If you keep picking the lettuce while it is small, it will keep regrowing until the summer gets really hot. Then, as someone else mentioned, you can re-start more lettuce as soon as cooler fall weather comes.

Squash will produce a lot - start 2 seeds, and even if only 1 grows, you will have plenty for your family. If you keep the seeds in a cool dry place, you can use the packet for a few years (I keep the packets in my unheated garage).

If you want garlic, just take a bulb from the grocery store, pull off a few of the pieces, and stick them in the ground and you will have garlic forever. Every year, I think I've pulled all of mine, and every spring, I still have garlic plants!

I prefer doing herbs in pots, because then I can take them in during the winter, and use them year-round. But you could also put them in the garden, and just transfer a few plants into pots before the freeze if you want. Watch out for mint in a garden though - it spreads like crazy (including into the lawn) and you will never get rid of it once you have it. That is definitely a container plant.

Have fun!



answers from Sharon on

I do a garden every year with my two girls. They love it, and I really enjoy it as well. I usually buy my plants already started. We have a fairly short growing season. I do plant from seed also though. My girls love to do that and watch them grow! Every year we plant a few flower varieties from seed. Maragolds, Zinnias, Cosmos, inpatients, Sunflowers are all easy. They also help attract pollinators to your garden! It's always good to have a few flowers near! The Sunflowers come in so many sizes and varieties! They are one of our favorites to grow! The seeds are edible or you can make feeders for the birds with them. Another fun project for the kids! Thi past summer we did not have a garden because we moved in July. For Easter, I got my girls mini green houses at Home Depo. They were Disney themed, and a huge hit! We grew flowers and tomatos from seed and then planted then in containers so we could take them with us. The were super easy. I had never done tomato from seed. We had tomatoes until hard frost came! Pole beans are another fun one for kids. Make a little tee pee out of sticks or 1x2's and watch the vines scramble up! Tons of crop from those as well. Any variety of squash are prolific producers, and pumpkins are another of out favorites. We grow our Jack O'Lanterns now. Also Jack Be Little pumpkins are lots of fun! They do need a bit of space to spread out, and lots of water, but are well worth it! Water mellons are hit or miss with us. Some years we have good luck others not so much. We are going to try corn this year in our new garden along with our usual peppers, broccoli, squash, tomato, garlic, beans, etc....Good luck, and have fun with it! It's a learning process, but a fun one and well worth it! :)



answers from Chicago on

Tomatoes will be the hardest, and make sure you keep your squash really far away from everything else --they like to squash everything!

You can do the lettuce and carrots from seed. Do them early, start of April. The lettuce will start to go bad in the summer heat, so rip the plants out and reseed again near the end of August. Then you can have a nice fall crop. I have all of my lettuce in pots on my deck! It's a great container plant ;-)

Make sure you have good quality soil, but there really isn't anything to it.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Starting from seed is more interesting for kids. Lettuce is easy - you can grow it in your cold frame right now. I am starting my tomatoes, peppers and squash mid February. You can start them on a bright window sill or under fluorescent 'grow' lights. Carrots you can probably grow in your cold frame right now, or start from seed closer to Spring. You can also wait and pick up plants at your local garden center. I am really jealous - thinking of putting in a cold frame.

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