Being a stay at home parent is hard enough without adding a garden to the mix. Are you a single parent too? That's triple trouble. You want to be able to grow fresh veggies for your family. You have work to do. Then, there's the actual parenting. Slide that garden in and you haven't a moment to yourself. That is, unless you incorporate a few time saving gardening tricks. Here's a few that helped me when my kids were young.
Make sure your plans don't exceed your available time. Single parenting is a rough row to hoe. Gardening is one of those hobbies that can easily get away from you. If you're a single, stay at home mom, that means planting only what you and your kids will eat. While it's admirable to share your garden or grow a row for the hungry, do you really have the time?
Ask your kids – Which veggies will they actually eat?
It's not always enough to insist kids do their fare share. Sometimes you have to be specific. Assign each child a gardening task to suit their age and experience. Guide them through the job the first few times. Try not to be obvious about the fact that you're keeping an eye on their work. They'll appreciate the trust you place in them and wok harder.
Ask your kids – Which task do they feel is right for them and why?
Water automatically when possible.
Conventional hand watering is better for the environment. Still, it's not much of a time saver. Thankfully, there are automatic watering systems that save both time and the earth. Drip irrigation is one such method. Barrel wicking is another. There are many more. Try searching time saving watering methods online.
Ask your kids – What would be a creative way to water the garden? Encourage imagination!
Do have a plan.
Yes, I know. No plan in the world can account for all the tasks a single, stay at home parent faces. Who knows if you'll even have time to carry through with it? That's OK. Making a plan for squeezing gardening into your schedule still makes a difference. If nothing else, it might alert you to the fact that you need to downsize or give up the garden altogether.
Ask your kids – Chances are, they'd love to be included in the planning process. Fresh perspective!
This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo! property.