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Danelle Cutting: Gardening activities for the entire family

Painted rocks at Hurley Park

By Danelle Cutting
For the Salisbury Post

With all that is going on in the world today, everyone is trying to do their part. In this article I am going to teach you a few gardening tricks and activities you can do at home with the entire family. I will also add a video of these tips to our Hurley Park Facebook page (@HurleyParkNC) to go along with this article, so be sure to check it out.

At Hurley Park, we oftentimes have to grow our own plants. Granted, there are some difficult plants to grow, but for the most part it is not rocket science unless you really want to take it to that level. But for a beginner I would say first look around the house for some supplies such as an old bag of potting or flower soil mix, plastic cups or an empty container, and some seeds. You can order seeds online or collect some from plants or fruits/vegetables you have around the house. Drill drainage holes into the cups, place the soil in the cup, plant one or two seeds and then water. Place in a sunny windowsill (this is for the majority of seeds, but some plants need additional requirements) or once frost is gone you can grow them outside (usually April 15 plus or minus about seven days).

A question we are asked all the time is how do I know when to water? Sadly, I usually see people over-water plants and that causes a host of problems. The easiest and cheapest way is to use your finger. Take your finger and feel the soil. If it is dry, water the plant. If the soil is still wet, leave it alone and check back another day. You will need to wait a few weeks before you can transplant your plants but before you do, be sure the check the roots. If the roots are a nice creamy white the plant is healthy, if the roots are brown or look slimy do not use this plant because it will most likely not do well and/or could have fungal or rotting issues.

I have seen quite a few families going outdoors and trying to do some activities together. One that has been really neat to witness is rock painting with the stones families have found around their homes. Some are using them to make plant labels or to make artwork to place in their gardens. They are easy to make and can turn any area into a work of art.

If you are a first-time gardener don’t set high expectations. Gardening is a trial and error situation. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still not work, that’s why we usually plant more than one of the same thing. Some favorites I like that seem to do pretty well are most herbs. Basil is a favorite, as well as cilantro and I have even started seeing some of the plants being sold at the grocery store. Vegetables can be tricky in the fact that you cannot plant it and forget it, it is almost a necessity to tend to them every day to reduce disease and pest problems as well as when you need to harvest. I have seen plenty of vegetable gardens left for weeks and never harvested because people grew tired of the work. So start off small and then build your gardens up. Try containers first if you do not feel comfortable planting in the ground and read the seed labels. I also encourage you to use N..C Extension for free growing information, and most of all have fun. Stay safe and enjoy the outdoors!

For more information or to donate to Hurley Park, go to https://salisburync.gov/Government/Parks-and-Recreation/Parks/Hurley-Park, like them on Facebook and Instagram @HurleyParkNC, or contact the park at 704-638-4459.

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