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“New” Digging into Spring: Family-Friendly Gardening Tips and Tricks

“New” Digging into Spring: Family-Friendly Gardening Tips and Tricks

As spring blooms into full swing, it’s the perfect time to introduce children and adults alike to the wonders of gardening. Not only does gardening teach valuable life skills, but fosters a deeper connection with nature to serve as a healing and empowering experience. In this article, we will explore a few low-cost, budget-friendly ways to begin gardening:

Grow from Seeds: Seeds are typically more affordable than seedlings or plants. Start your garden from seeds and save even more by collecting seeds from fruits and vegetables you already have at home. Participate in seed swaps with fellow gardeners in your community to access a variety of seeds at no cost. One of the most exciting parts of gardening for kids (and adults!) is watching plants grow from tiny seeds. Try selecting seeds that are easy to grow and suitable for your region’s climate since landscapes in Arizona vary. Choose a few plants your family is interested in growing, whether it’s colorful flowers, crunchy vegetables, or fresh herbs! 

  • Helpful tip! You can purchase seeds, fruit, vegetable, and herb starts with SNAP/EBT at select stores with Double Up Food Bucks Arizona too! We recommended contacting your local SNAP/EBT retailer before making the trip to make sure they sell seeds and starts and accept SNAP/EBT/Double Up Arizona as payment. You’ll most likely find plant starts sold seasonally when temperatures are milder in Central, Southern Arizona (spring and fall) and late-spring, summer, and early fall in Northern Arizona. 
  • Helpful tip! Many public libraries in Arizona have seed libraries. Seed libraries provide free seeds to anyone with a library card. Contact your local library to see if they have a seed library! Here are just a few examples of county libraries that have seed libraries and resources: 

Start Small: Choose a small area on your patio, yard or balcony where anyone in your household can use the garden. Consider large or small containers that are easily accessible. Get creative in your space by using colorful signs, decorative rocks, or handmade garden markers adds an extra element of fun and enjoyment! Additionally, consider joining a community garden where you can share resources, tools, and expertise with other gardeners while splitting the time and cost of maintaining the garden space. 

  • Utilize Recycled Containers: Repurpose containers such as yogurt cups, milk cartons, or egg cartons as seedling starters. Poke small holes or add small rocks, pebbles at the bottom of these containers for drainage, fill them with soil, and plant your seeds to begin your garden inexpensively.
    • Budget Tip! Dollar stores typically carry potting soil in the springtime and helpful tools (but not required!).
  • DIY Garden Tools: Instead of buying expensive gardening tools, get creative and repurpose household items. Use old kitchen utensils as hand shovels, sturdy sticks as stakes, and make watering cans from plastic bottles with punctured caps.

Make It Hands-On with Kids: Kids learn best through hands-on experiences, so try to involve them in each step of the gardening process. Let them dig in the soil, plant the seeds, and water the plants (all with supervision, of course). Assign age-appropriate tasks to your children, such as watering the plants, pulling weeds, or checking for pests. Encourage sensory exploration by allowing them to feel the different textures of soil, leaves, and flowers. Gardening teaches valuable lessons about responsibility and patience. Set a regular schedule for garden maintenance and involve the whole family in taking care of the plants.

Share the Joy: Gardening can be even more rewarding when shared with others. Sharing your gardening experiences with friends, neighbors, or classmates can be fun. One idea is to try hosting a garden party or swap seeds and plants with other community members!