Beautiful things can emerge when you dig right in. A natural, glorious garden that just happens to be edible is a great place to start.
So find an old wagon at a garage sale, or use one that your kids have outgrown, let the soil run through your fingers, and plant a garden on wheels together.
This is an easy project for the beginning gardeners in your family, and the results are so rewarding. Children can plant, water, weed and tend their own plants without becoming overwhelmed by a big garden plot. And since the garden on wheels is portable, they can move it around the yard or deck for maximum sun exposure throughout the day.
Here’s the stuff you need:
— an old wagon, wheelbarrow or wagonlike toy on wheels
— drill and 1/4-inch drill bit
— wire mesh screen, such as window screen (optional)
— potting soil mix
— potted edible plants, such as herbs (parsley, basil, tarragon, thyme, etc.), lettuce and kale
— kid-size gardening tools
— watering can
— Tinker Toys and waterproof pens for plant markers (optional)
Here’s the fun:
1. An adult should drill several drainage holes in the bottom of the wagon or wheelbarrow about 6 inches apart. You may wish to lay mesh screen over the bottom to keep soil from falling through the holes. Fill with potting soil mix. Leave at least 3/4 inch to the wagon edge.
2. Plant potted plants, keeping in mind their eventual size: Put taller plants in the middle, small plants along the sides. You also could plant a few lettuce seeds placed in the soil in the shape of the letter of your child’s first name. Or, choose a colorful edible flower or two.
3. Water with a watering can or slow-running hose. It’s a good idea to give it six hours of direct sun each day. Add plant food throughout the growing season, and you’ll have the loveliest garden on wheels ever.
4. If your child wishes to make small identification markers for planted seeds and plants, simply attach a Tinker Toy wheel to a stick, and draw a picture with a marker on the wheels. Poke into the dirt by the seedlings or plants.
Most importantly, enjoy your bountiful wagon harvest as summer and the wagon roll along!
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”