Children's Corner: Sandbox Garden and Swing Set Bean House

A young gardener describes how he converted an ordinary sandbox into a sandbox garden and added a trellis to a swing set to make a bean house.

| May/June 1985

MOTHER EARTH NEWS feels strongly that youths can be creative "doers," working toward more ecological and self-reliant lifestyles whether their tasks be raising chickens on a farm or maintaining rooftop container gardens in the city. To support the endeavors of our often overlooked "underage" citizens, we're glad to publish well-written articles from younger children and teenagers concerning projects they've undertaken.

My name is Ben Roth. I live in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania and I want to tell you about making my sandbox into a garden and my swing set into a bean house.

Two summers ago I decided to make a sandbox garden because I was too big to play in a sandbox anymore. First I had to get the soil ready. I hoed and dug up the dirt and sand that were in the sandbox. Then I had to get more dirt from my mom and dad's garden because there was too much sand and not enough dirt in my sandbox.

Next I decided what to plant. I chose carrots, peanuts, strawberries, onions, and cherry tomatoes because those plants are supposed to do well in sandy soil. (I didn't have to buy all my plants and seeds, but if I'd had to, it would have cost about $6.65: $1.30 for two cherry tomato seedlings, 85¢ for carrot seeds, $1.00 for five strawberry plants, $3.00 for four peanut plants, and 50¢ for onion sets.)

My first big problem was with rabbits. They ate many of my peanuts and carrots, so I had to put a fence around these plants to keep the rabbits from eating more. I made a big mistake by not putting up a fence in the beginning!

My next problem was the drought. That summer was very dry in Dillsburg, so I had to water my garden a lot (almost every day).

Another problem was the weeds that threatened to take over the garden. I had to pull weeds at least once every two weeks. Sometimes it was hard to tell which were weeds and which were garden plants. Also, I had to thin out my onions and carrots because they were growing too close together. Then the plants that were left could grow bigger.

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