5 Ideas to Inspire Your Green Thumb

You want to garden… at least theoretically. April brought a much-needed break from the Pacific Northwest’s endless grey drear. Showers of dainty petals drift from the cherry trees to carpet the ground in lovely hues. And the sun burns through the clouds a little more every day. After what seems like an eternity of April showers, May is here with the promise of flowers and temperatures over 70 for the first time since September.

Spring has sprung and it’s time to get in the garden! So what’s holding you back?

Spring garden featuring a topiary cat with hypnotic eyes

There are many reasons to avoid getting growing, but I’ve got some tips to help you cross a few excuses off the list. And the library is a great place to get started!

Here is a selection of books, streaming videos, and classes* to get you back in the garden gloves again.

And please share what books, videos, etc. have gotten you through your own gardening woes!

*Throughout May, Covington Library is offering free hands-on gardening classes and events in partnership with Elk Run Farm, Lake Wilderness Arboretum, Maple Valley Food Bank, Puget Sound Wildcare, and The Storehouse.

1. Go organic. It’s not as difficult or expensive as you may think!

Growing a Greener World

If the thought of weeding has you avoiding the garden, it may be time to go organic. When you make your own compost, weeding becomes the much less tedious task of compost harvesting (yes, with the right practices weeds can be composted!). Not sure where to start? Growing a Greener World is a great introduction. The 13-episode series covers composting, natural pest control, growing a victory garden on a budget, and much more. The best part? You can stream it free from the KCLS website!

Hands-on learning:

Organic Gardening on a Budget
Thursday, May 4, 6 pm, Covington Library
Adults, middle, and high school ages

Think organic gardening is too expensive? Join garden educator Lisa Taylor, author of Your Farm in the City: An Urban Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals to learn how to grow an environmentally friendly edible garden without breaking the bank! Sponsored by Friends of the Covington Library.

2. Try a terrarium. They are fun to make, lovely to see, and easy to maintain.

Terrarium Craft

Gardens are a lot of work. If it seems like too much, take a baby step with a terrarium! Terrarium Craft has everything you need to know to build your own miniature world. You can follow step-by-step directions or use the information about filtration, design, and plant selection to create (and rule) your very own tiny dominion (ah ha ha haaaaaa!!!!).

Hands-on learning:

Teen Art Club
Friday, May 19, 3-5 pm, Covington Library
Grades 5-12

Hang out with other artists and unleash your creativity through guided and not-so-guided activities. May's project is creature terrariums. Drop in the 3rd Friday of every month for a new project. Sponsored by Friends of the Covington Library.

3. Think outside the yard. Small space gardening is totally a thing!

Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet

You can garden with whatever space you have. Try growing vertically up a wall. Fill a balcony with container crops. Start a kitchen garden on a windowsill. There is a lot to know to successfully grow in small spaces, and Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet has it all. With easy to understand information, lots of helpful images, and step-by-step directions, this book will have you cooking up your own food in no time.

Hands-on learning:

Small Space, Big Harvest: Container Gardening for Beginners
Saturday, May 20, Covington Library
11 am, ages 12 and younger with adult
 1 pm, ages 13 – 100

You don't need a backyard to grow your own food! Container gardens are a great way to grow fruit, veggies and herbs in apartments and other small spaces. A Master Gardner will explain how to choose soil and containers, considerations for growing different crops, where to put your garden for the best results, and how to maintain and keep your garden healthy. Then get your hands dirty planting a garden to take with you (dress to make a mess!). Sponsored by Friends of the Covington Library

4. Get friends and family into the garden. If the solitude of gardening is keeping you from digging in, make it a party!

Down & Dirty

With fun projects for all, Down & Dirty is a go-to for finding projects that will draw others into your garden. Try growing and brewing homemade Elderflower champagne to entice friends into the mix. Plant a dinosaur garden the kiddos' extinct friends will eagerly stomp through. Keep your fur babies rolling in the dirt with a cat garden. Or help out by taking your skills to community or volunteer gardens!

Help You, Help Out: Garden Resource and Volunteer Fair
Saturday, May 20, 12-1pm, Covington Library

Discover the different non-profit agencies offering gardening opportunities or advice in and around Covington. Chat with each group to find out how they can help you grow your garden, or how you can help the community by volunteering in theirs.

5. Forget traditional planting seasons. With the right methods, you can grow all year-long.

The Year-round Vegetable Gardener

It’s not too late to start an edible garden! With the right plants and setup, you can grow into the summer without quadrupling your water bill. And why not extend your growing season into winter too? The Year-round Vegetable Gardner combines intensive planting methods with expert advice on what grows best when to help you make the most of all four seasons. Plans to build simple cold frames and other contraptions are also included.

Hands-on learning:
Late Spring in the Edible Garden, Can I Still Plant a Garden?
Thursday, June 1, 6 pm, Covington Library

Now is the time to plant just about everything in your garden. Join garden educator Lisa Taylor, author of Your Farm in the City: An Urban Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals and the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide in a lively session about growing an edible garden. Learn the ins and outs of late spring and summer planting and how to get the most out of a small space. Sponsored by the Friends of the Covington Library.

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