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Involve Entire Family in Vegetable Gardening

Man teaching children in vegetable garden

Gardening with family. Photo credit: UF/IFAS file photo

Vegetable gardening can be an excellent activity for the entire family. There’s always something new to learn from the experience.

For the young gardener, there are valuable lessons to learn. Things that all of us should learn early in life. Children can learn that what is sown will be reaped. They can learn about competition. They can learn that not all benefits from work come in the form of dollars. They can learn about sharing and teamwork. They also learn the feeling of accomplishment and learn to deal with disappointment.

There is much to learn about science in the backyard garden. A child can experience firsthand where food

Girl taking picture of sunflowers in garden

Children can have fun and learn in a garden. Photo credit: UF/IFAS file photo

comes from. They can discover the insect world and find out that some insects are beneficial. And hopefully they will learn to care for the land along with learning a skill that can be shared with their children.

For the experienced gardener that might be growing tired of gardening, try something new. There are many vegetables to choose that will grow in our area. Chinese cabbage is something that you should try. It’s easy to grow and tastes delicious raw or cooked. You could try various herbs in the garden such as lemon balm, dill or chocolate mint. Sometimes color in the garden will help offer a change. Adding color to the garden is easy with annuals like marigold, nasturtium or ornamental kale.

For whatever reason you decide to garden, now is the time to begin preparing for the spring/summer garden. As part of the preparation, you may want to participate in an upcoming seminar on vegetable gardening in Northwest Florida.

On Saturday, February 29 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the UF/IFAS Extension Office, I will provide a seminar on Vegetable Gardening in Northwest Florida. This office is located at the Gerald R. Edmondson Extension Building, 3098 Airport Road in Crestview. This seminar will cover site selection, preparation, planning, soil preparation, planting and design for vegetable gardening in North Florida. I also will cover common vegetable gardening mistakes.

Cost per person for the February 29 vegetable gardening seminar is $10 payable at the door by check or cash. Preregistration is required by calling the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office at (850) 689-5850. Space is limited.

If your goals involve getting more exercise, eating healthier foods, spending more time with the family or just spending more time outdoors, try vegetable gardening. It can be a fun and productive outdoor activity.

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