Gardening for Kids…

Teaching kids about food and where it comes from can really make a difference in their nutritional choices as they get older.  They come to appreciate fruits and vegetables and also value locally grown…well anything.

There is nothing better than a fresh vine picked tomato whether from your garden or someone elses.  Growing up, the “old people” would share produce like it was their full time job.  I say that in the nicest sense of the word…anyone over the age of 20 was “old” in my early teen years.  My how things have changed.

Anyhow…

Not sure why I don’t get as much shared produce anymore…Hm.

Back to the idea…

Kids might not always eat vegetables but they love to grow them.  It is a science project to them.  From seed to plant to table!

An idea would be to create a container garden with your little ones.  Having a theme for the garden takes it to another level.  Think “Italian” garden.  Oregano, tomatoes, basil, thyme.  Once you pick some of the ingredients, make sure you involve them in making and planning a delicious meal using everything.

To make it even more fun…pick a few books about gardening and read them with your kids.  They will love the attention and one-on-one time!

Suggestions:

  • Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
  • The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (my favorite!) … the movie was excellent as well
  • The Gardening Book, by Jane Bull

What are you growing this season?

Until next time…

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It’s Planting Season {Tips}…

Do you have a green thumb?  I do … when it comes to vegetables and outdoor plants … not the case for indoor plants.  I kill them all.  Too much water.  Not enough water.  The little bugs that start to fly around freak me out.  So I stick to outdoor plants.

I love flowers, gardens, and all things pretty when it comes to outdoor spaces.  Love it!  I sketched my dream backyard when I was about 10 — I still have the sketch. 🙂  I always had ideas on how to make our yard prettier or how to make my grandmothers drab yard less so.  Love you Maw Maw. 😉

I used to get furious at my mom for not letting me pick out the flowers and for not letting me decide what went where.  I didnt understand the concept: her money, her yard, her “duty” to water and maintain. 😉

My dad and I started a garden in our backyard one summer.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever!  We planted too many tomato and pepper plants for a family of 3, but he is an over-the-top kinda guy when it comes to stuff like that.  The garden quickly became much less cool when it was my job to water, weed, and pick the “fruit”.

North Carolina + dead middle of winter + lazy teenager Jennifer = smelly garden and a lot of grumbling.  To this day my memories of that garden are of the delicious tomatoes, inviting my grandmother over for lunch dates {I stayed home by myself and would be very bored.  We had garden salad lunches}, and the stinky smell of vegetables “cooking” under the midday sun.  Oh yea, and the pico de gallo that we used to make…yum-e!

A few tips — that was the title of the post afterall! 😉

  • When shopping for flowers, pay special attention to:
    • Size (when mature), sun exposure, and watering tips.
  • You dont want to plant sunny and shady plants together.  Just like you dont plant flowers that survive on different levels of water together.
  • Stick to a color scheme.  Yellow, pink, purple, blue, white, etc will end up looking like a hot mess come middle of summer.
    • Pick one or two accent colors and buy a lot of white.
  • Plant on a dime
    • Let your friends and neighbors know you need plants.  Offer to remove any that they might be planning to tear out.
    • Find out about plant swaps in your area.
      • Local public gardens, cooperative extension offices, or garden clubs.
    • Remember that plants can be rescued.  Be patient.
    • Divide your perennials.  Split large plants three or four ways, then plant the divisions elsewhere in your garden.
      • I will be doing this when I have a real yard and garden one day!
  • Mix flowers and vegetables (or herbs).
  • If you plant herbs, make sure you trim the flowers right away.  Once the plant starts to flower, it will not produce more “herbs” stems/leaves.
    • *Learned this the hard way*
  • Water early in the morning.  Very early!
    • Later in the day and you will cook the flowers and plants.  The sun will heat up the water that is standing on the leaves and cook the plants.

More to come on starting a garden! 🙂

What are your favorite flowers to plant?

Until next time…

It’s Planting Season…

I might be jumping the start just a little, but with consistently warm spring-like weather, well my planting fingers are getting tingly.  {I have no idea what that means, it just came out while I was typing.} 😉

As I have mentioned, and I’m sure will mention again, I am moving in 2 months.  Yippee on the move.  Boo on the plants.  The new place will have a much different patio orientation than I have now.  Last year I had “THE” patio of the neighborhood.  I’m not that competitive, but I did check out the rest of the patios.  I safely secured that title!  Poor schmucks trying to out do me…Psh!

Back to the point, so I won’t be planting anything this spring.  😦  The sunny plants will die when I move…. and I really don’t feel like moving plants in general.  However, I thought I would give you a recap of what my beautiful patio looked like last year.  {Yes I took pictures…remember I won the award for best patio?!} 😉

Jennifer's Cute Little Patio
Sorry for the ugly round disc in the background {Thanks DirecTV}

One of my favorite plants. A stupid fat squirrel knocked it over and broke it halfway through the summer.

Hanging basket with white petunias - it was stunning!

Ill be posting gardening & planting tips later this week! 🙂  I had 3 “dream” jobs when I was little. 1) Interior Designer — so NOT good at this …. 2) Organizer — pretty good at this one! 😉 … 3) Landscape architect — love plants, hate bugs.  Still a big hobby of mine!

Happy {rainy} Monday!

Until next time…

Organizing Garden Supplies for the Cooler Months

I thought today would be a great day to talk about organizing garden supplies for the cooler months.  I just spent part of the weekend throwing out plants, cleaning up planters, and organizing my “garden shed”.

Now is a great time to:

  • Clean out birdfeeders & replenish food supply.  My great grandfather used to say “Never feed birds in the summer – they need to tend for themselves when food is available. Feed them when its colder to help them sustain through the winter.”
  • Toss out dead (or dying plants).  Also, toss out any plants that dont fit within your garden design for fall.  Example: toss out bright colored impatiens & replace with fall colored mums.
  • Toss any broken or cracked planters
  • Clean remaining planters with mild soap & warm water
  • Sharpen & clean gardening tools
  • Pull out a calender to mark gardening chores (plant vegetables for cooler weather, sew grass seeds, weed, etc.)
  • Create a garden binder for next year (it will make sifting through all those plants at the nursery much easier!)
  • Binder: Include pictures or plant tags of flowers and plants that you want to purchase again — sketch of yard to showcase areas that get sunlight or shade — sketch can also provide a visual for perennials (you dont want to forget about those plants that keep on giving)!

Gardening takes a lot of energy in the summer, especially during the dog days.  Its nice to take a step back, reassess the plants and flowers, decide what you would like to do for the following year, and clean up and store your supplies.  When spring rolls around, all you have to do is go to the nursery (with your binder!) and start planting!

What are your favorite fall flowers and plants?  — Mine are yellow mums nestled among bails of hay and pumpkins!