Home Gardening

  • Gardening benefits families.
    • Vegetables gardens produce a financial savings in the cost of food.
    • Gardens help families strengthen their relationships.
    • Gardens create lasting memories of planting, weeding, harvesting and canning.
    • Gardening is a fitness class - aerobics for all ages. 
    • Gardening requires time, which provides a chance to talk about the day's events, about friends and values and future plans - all valuable topics for parents and kids.  
    • Gardening helps to keep children occupied during summer vacation. 
  • Gardening teaches children.  
    • There is magic in the garden. 
    • Food doesn't grow in tin cans.
    • Valuable traits and life skills are learned, like creativity, responsibility and patience.
    • Children learn the value of hard work.  
    • Children learn about colors and textures and how things grow. 
    • Children can learn about sunlight and how plants use it.  
    • Children learn about soil, fertilizer, and insecticides. 
    • Children enjoy being in nature, observing butterflies, insects, and birds, and what attracts them.  
    • Children are more likely to taste new foods, if they grow them.  
    • Children learn healthy habits as they enjoy fresh food.  
    • Families can take their gardening questions to the Spokane County Extension Office. 

What You Can Do
  •  Plant a Row for the Hungry Campaign invites gardeners to add a row to their gardens and donate the vegetables from it to local food banks.
  • Grow an Environmentally-Friendly Garden.   See "Gardening" under the Environment topic.
  • Offer to plow or till gardens for others in the spring (for free, or for a small fee).

  • Northwest Gardener's Handbook, written by Spokane's master gardeners Pat Munts and Susan Mulvihill, focuses on plants that grow well in the Inland Northwest.  In addition, they talk about fire-resistant plants and how to landscape in a region prone to wildfire, sustainable landscaping practices, and the challenges facing gardeners in our region. 
  • Need advice from an expert about gardening or plants?  Call or visit Spokane County's WSU Master Gardeners program.  This program is staffed by trained volunteers who provide research-based and localized answers to questions about any plant.  Advice is FREE.  Click on their page below.
  • Have your soil tested.  Obtain a soil sample bag from a reputable source, to test for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), pH and organic matter.  The cost of a soil test may range from $30-$50.  In Spokane, contact Spokane Conservation District Soil Scientist Eric Choker, (509) 535-7274, ext. 18, or email him at eric-choker@sccd.org. 

Gardening with Children

  • Start a garden in a small area, so it will not be overwhelming.  It can be as small or large as you want.  Remember - it doesn't have to be perfect. 

  • Allow children to help select the food to grow. 

  • Start with something that the kids will see as soon as possible - like radishes or beans. 

  • Some of the plants children especially enjoy are cherry tomatoes and peas. 

  • Herbs.  Introduce children to herbs. 

  • Teach children that some plants are poisonous.  They need to know which plants are edible and which ones are not.  
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance