Summer Project: Urban Garden

This week NYC entered into phase 3 and I am definitely not comfortable sending my son to any of the available camps. For my sanity and everyone’s health, we would rather stay at home unless it is necessary to step out.

School ended at the beginning of June, and I had to have some fun indoor projects up my sleeve to keep my son excited and challenged despite the lack of space and options.  One of our ambitious projects was to use our small terrace and turn it into an urban garden.  My 12 year old son had always wanted to plant vegetables and flowers, but I never thought it was possible in our limited space.  Our apartment is comfortably-sized, but we had been using our terrace as storage to allow more space in our living space.  Every summer, my son has had a packed schedule keeping him busy: summer camp, play dates with friends, and family trips.  We have never had a summer like this, where we are completely unscheduled all summer.  

So, we began to do some major cleaning to make space for our “urban” garden.  We purged stuff that was not really necessary to hold on to any longer.  He took action and began to research and plan our urban garden.  I ended up buying a raised planter box with legs that worked perfectly for our space.  We decided to plant some pumpkin seeds, black beans, and a pepper plant. We also put some wild flowers and a portulaca plant in pots. 

Our first day of planting

I am definitely an amateur gardener and by no means have the space to further test my ability as a gardener, but my son and I have taken our roles as “gardeners” seriously.  It’s been so much fun and a learning experience for both.  We have had our snafus along the way, such as planting without having enough soil on the bed, overcrowding our bed, having failure transplants, and, worst of all, getting rid of our onion bulb that was taken over by gnats. 

We weren’t so hopeful we were going to have a green thumb.  We didn’t think that we would see many of our veggie seeds sprouting and ended up adding more seeds to the soil.  Surprisingly all of the beans and pumpkin seeds sprouted, and our bed became overly crowded.  We had to pull a few pumpkin plants out of our bed to give them enough room to grow.  They were transplanted into pots.  The pumpkin plant survived the transplant!  It might sound lame but, it’s exciting to see them continuously grow!   

If you have never tried gardening, I recommend it for many reasons, especially during this time of isolation and being away from your normal life before the pandemic.  Gardening has surprising health benefits you would have never imagined, based on studies and research.

Some of the great benefits:

-Reduce stress

-Increase self-esteem

-Creates happiness

-Vitamin D booster 

-Healthier meals on the table (we aren’t there yet)

And, those are only five of the many benefits you gain from gardening.  If you are a parent then you are in luck because you can gain even more.  Children have a lot to gain from planting and gardening.

Some of the great benefits for children:

-They engage all five senses

-Gardening is Science 

-Encourages them to eat more veggies 

-Great family bonding time    

-Teaches patience

If you have never gardened before, but would like to start,  I have added links to the items I purchased that have helped us get started at the end.  

Our veggie plants are healthy and some of our flower plants were blooming after 5 weeks.  We are anxiously waiting to see our squash blossoms, peppers and bean pods show up! Most recently, we just planted a sugar baby watermelon seed, let’s see how that goes.  I will surely keep you guys updated:)

Raised Plant Bed with Legs
Novelty Watering Can
Book on Gardening
Book on Gardening
Potting Soil
Insect Control

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