Gardening gives families skills to grow their own food at home. This gives people an option to increase the fruits and vegetables that are available to them. Kids love to grow their own fruits and veggies and in return they are more apt to try them!
Gardening provides a good opportunity for physical activity for kids and adults. Food based gardening is a beneficial activity that leads to the economical production and consumption of healthy and fresh foods.
Do you have a small yard, or no yard? No problem! Container gardening is a great option. The key to success is planting in a big enough container- generally one 5-gallon container per vegetable plant. Make sure you have holes in the bottom of it so that the water can drain, use a light, fluffy soil (with some compost in it!), and put it where it gets plenty of sun. Also, containers dry out more quickly than plants in the ground, so make sure to water often!
Vegetable plants love the sun! In fact, they require 6-8 hours of it every day. Especially if you live in an urban area, spend a day watching how the shadows move, and make sure the spot you choose gets enough sun to make your plant happy! If you notice that nowhere in your area has enough sun, try growing herbs or lettuces, as they are more shade tolerant. Although plants love the sun and need it to survive, in the heat of the summer, some plants, like tomatoes, may need a shade cloth over them because the sun can be overpowering.
SNAP can be used to purchase food seeds. Seeds and plants used in gardens to produce food for human consumption are eligible foods. This includes the following items:
- Seeds for producing edible plants and edible plants (e.g. , tomatoes and green pepper seeds or plants, and fruit trees);
- Edible food producing roots, bushes, and bulbs (e.g., asparagus crowns and onion bulbs); and
- Seeds and plants used to produce spices for use in cooking
Gardening soil, fertilizer, peat moss, and other gardening supplies are NOT eligible items.
For more information and resources about nutrition education and gardening go to the USDA Food and Nutrition Services gardening page: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-education/nutrition-education-materials/gardening