If you’re looking for greater family unity, planting a garden might be the solution. Not only is it great for your health to grow and eat fresh foods but having a project with your family is a great way to build teamwork through a common goal. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Start by Planning
Benjamin Franklin taught, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” With gardens, planning is especially important, as not all plants will grow well in all environments. Do some research into the plants you like and where you will be planting. Learn about which climate zone you are in and research what will grow best and when to plant. Let each of your family members choose one or two plants or flowers that they want to plant and go shopping together.
Make sure you have the tools you need for the job. If you are in a smaller space like an apartment or a rental, you might consider planting in flowerpots that can be moved around and aren’t a permanent fixture. Visit your local hardware store or plant nursery and see what they have available.
If you buy generic terra cotta pots, consider a painting night, during which every member of your family gets to paint their pot in preparation for planting. This is one more event to hype up even the most hesitant family members to share a fun new adventure.
Plant Together, but Give Responsibility
When planting day comes together, make it a party! Be excited and let your energy flow throughout your family. The more excited you are, the more it will be mirrored back. Plant your seeds according to the recommendations on the seed packet and make sure they have sufficient water. If you are planting indoors because it’s still too chilly outside, put a clear plastic bag over the pot to have an instant greenhouse!
Once the seeds are planted, let every family member be responsible for their plants as much as they can. This responsibility breeds confidence in other areas of their life. Don’t be afraid to let them fail either. Give support and words of affirmation and help them start again when this happens. Failing is an important part of life, and letting it happen with plants is a safe place to learn those lessons.
Have a Harvest Party
It’s going to take some time to see the results of your efforts, so make sure to celebrate the milestones along the way, like when your plants sprout, grow buds, and so on. Let checking the plants be a fun highlight of your day.
When all the plants are ready to be harvested (which might be at different times), have a harvest party and let everyone’s plants be a part of the party. Whether it is a piece of a meal or a table decoration, recognize the achievements of everyone in the group.
Consider having a debrief session to talk about what you learned through this process of growing a garden. Ask each family member their favorite part and what they didn’t like as much. Decide what to plant next year, now that you have some experience with it. Reference the tools given above to try some new plants.
Health Benefits of Gardening
Even if gardening as a family doesn’t fix all your problems, it is a stellar activity for your health and those who garden with you. Not only are you getting fresh air and light exercise but being in the sunshine provides your body with vitamin D, which is essential to hundreds of body functions and can protect you against many illnesses.
Gardening can lower anxiety and stress, boost memory, promote healthy body weight, and it helps to fight addiction. This article from Healthline details the science behind these claims, but the point is clear: gardening can help you lead a healthier life.
Doing any project as a family will build ties and stronger bonds with each other, so planting a garden is just one great way to accomplish this.
Working together while gardening causing some conflict? Read our blog, “Four Tips to Avoid Conflicts in the Family” here.