Get your hands dirty and soon your family will enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Sunlight, exercise, homegrown fruits and vegetables—what’s not to love about gardening? Robert Paulson, groundskeeping supervisor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, explains how to get growing at home.

Where to Begin?

  • Get the right dirt. If your soil is especially rocky or sandy, you can buy gardening soil or add compost to make it better suited to growing. “A raised bed can also help you control the soil quality,” Paulson says. “If you build one, use untreated wood.”
  • Keep on the sunny side. Pick a place in your yard that gets plenty of sun. A fruit and vegetable garden will need at least six hours of sunlight each day.  
  • Make your pick. Bring the kids to a local plant nursery or home improvement store and select the seeds for your garden.
  • Start digging. Plant your seeds, following the directions on the packet for spacing.

Homegrown Health

These easy-growing crops can be added to a healthy family meal.

  • basil
  • lettuce
  • mint
  • oregano
  • peppers
  • pumpkins
  • strawberries
  • thyme
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini

Go Play in the Yard!

“Kids can water the garden with the hose, pull the weeds and pick bugs off vegetables,” Paulson says. “It’s a great chance to teach kids hard work and to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It helps them learn from mistakes, too. Every harvest will be different, and kids can experiment on what they need to do better next time.”

If you need gardening tips, turn to your local plant nursery, Missouri Botanical Garden or university extension service.