You might harvest more than flowers and vegetables when you spend time outside working in your garden. Research shows that other good things can come from nurturing plants in your backyard or a community garden. For example, people’s attitudes towards health and nutrition improve when they have access to a garden, kids perform better in school, and communities may become closer.
Here are some tips to get the most out of the Wisconsin gardening season.
Planting and caring for a family garden can be a great way to bring the family together.
- Start small. Window boxes or containers (recycled clean milk containers work well) can become planters.
- Get some child-sized tools from a local nursery or garden center. Plastic spoons and shovels work well, too.
- Make your own compost. Find a location in your yard behind a tree, or dig a hole in the ground. Add rinds and peels from fruit, coffee grounds, tea bags and eggshells• never anything that swam, walked or flew. Wait several months for your compost to turn black and crumbly and then mix with soil and use for fertilizer.
Be a good steward
Spring gardening offers an opportunity to be a good steward of the land. Here are more ideas and activities to consider as you spend time outdoors this spring and summer.
- Plant a rain garden to help protect the natural water supply. Storm water may pick up materials that can pollute water. Rain gardens are designed to capture this rainwater before it becomes runoff, protecting the environment and groundwater. Many plants suitable for a rain garden also attract pollinating insects, butterflies and birds.
- Plant a pollinator garden. Food crops rely on honeybees, native bees and other pollinators to survive. Attract these creatures by planting nectar-rich, flower-filled gardens. Planting a pollinator garden in a school area can lead to lessons in botany, entomology, food systems and native populations.”
- Plant a tree. The power of a tree cannot be underestimated. Trees purify the air we breathe, take up and store carbon, and help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They provide food and shelter to birds and other wildlife, help reduce energy needs by moderating winter winds and summer heat, and even provide fruit.