There Are Many Opportunities to Garden
No Matter the Size of Your Space
- Formal community gardens organized by your tribe
- Backyard gardens located in a small patch of land or raised beds
- Container gardens that grow food in large pots outside
- Window sill containers for growing herbs or other small plants/foods
Backyard gardening is a convenient way for families to garden together and a great way to teach children about the benefits of eating fresh foods – they contain more vitamins and minerals than store-bought foods that are transported great distances, and they taste better, too! Research shows that when kids are engaged in growing their own foods, they are more likely to adopt lifelong healthy eating habits. For Native communities, the benefits are even greater
- Opportunities to share ancestral history and stories
- A platform to teach children Native language by stressing traditional words for plants
The Key to Creating a Successful Backyard Garden is Starting Simple
- Plan before you plant. Identify a good location that gets sun and is close to a water source. Consider building a raised bed and placing good soil on top of the existing land. Research plants, soil types and fertilizer.
- Start small! It’s better to plant a manageable garden the first year and expand each following year. Consider a container garden: it can consist of garden pots or boxes, or even bags of potting soil ripped open. Or, plant some herbs in small pots that will fit on your windowsill. Even the pros say it much easier to correct mistakes in a small garden than a large operation (read more here). [Note: let’s link to “start small” sections in producers section]
- Choose plants wisely. Plant what grows well in your climate or has traditionally grown nearby for centuries. And, consider the economics: berries are expensive to buy in the stores, but plentiful and simple to grow in many regions.
- Share. Trade seeds with family and friends. Share tools and gardening supplies. Swap tips on growing. Then, at harvest, share your bounty, too!
- Go organic. Do not use harmful chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. Use organic soil for containers or raised beds and buy organic seeds if possible. Compost kitchen waste and lawn cuttings to produce your own fertilizer.
- Have fun! Kids enjoy getting their hands dirty and watching things grow. The greatest satisfaction is harvesting foods and enjoying.