Home School, Mike

Victory Gardening 2020: Big and Small, Good for All

Ava eyes pansy blossoms picked from Mema and Nono’s small, lush garden space at the Jersey Shore.

To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn

You don’t need a large backyard or even an outside space to experience the joy of fresh greens. You can start a small indoor garden in containers in a sunny spot indoors, or even with grow lights. For the Homeschool family, children and parents alike, can experience the joy of planting, watering, watching their seeds germinate, sprout- and grow into something beautiful and even freshly delicious.

You don’t need a large backyard or even an outside space to experience the joy of fresh greens.

If you have limited outside space you can use a terrace, deck, or even set up a platform on the exterior of a windowsill: similar to a window box.

Growing fresh green plantings, whether edible, or just for the flowering blooms, brings life and freshness to the home and the heart.

Home Project: The Bean Starts Here

The Bean Plant Experiment

Here is a fun, simple growing project to get the kids started:

What you Need:

  • A jar
  • A bean: dried kidney bean or pole bean
  • paper towel
  • water

Instructions:

Dampen paper towel.

Place in jar and place been seed on side of the jar.

Spray with water every couple days to keep the towel damp (don’t add too much water or the bean will rot).

Place in a sunny spot and watch what happens! This bean plant can be planted in an outdoor pot or in the garden.

This project is fun for all ages. For younger kids you could have them record the changes through drawing pictures and dating them. For older children you can have them record the changes through drawings and writing about what they see.

Another fun beginner garden project that Adriana and I have the kids work on each spring is to cut out pictures from the seed catalogs and glue them onto paper to create a garden layout for our garden this year. It get’s them thinking about what they would like to plant and where they can put it in the garden. If you don’t have seed catalogs you can always have the kids draw pictures of the plants.

Indoor Mini-Garden: Start some tomato plants from seed.

At this time of year we are planning our garden and already started some plants from seed. We do this sometimes on a large sunny window sill, but this year we made some cold frame beds outside. A cold frame is a glass covered box (a mini green house) that retains heat from the warmer days and shields the plantings from cold, intermittent frosting of the early spring here in New England.

My son Leo loves to start seedlings. He saves seeds from apples, collects pine cones and acorns, and loves to watch and water his sprouts in our starter window sill. He helps bring our small fig tree and other potted flowering plants into the mudroom during the colder months where they can be watered and cared for until the warm weather sees them outside again.

Ava laying out the garden space

This year under our pandemic stay at home situation we decided to expand the garden area. I removed trees and the kids and I built large raised beds. We used the fresh sawn up pine and timber I had harvested from the trees that had been shading the area to make the beds. The kids took turns swinging the hammers, driving nails, and laying out the material as we framed out the 13 4’x8′ 6″-8″ deep beds. Leo got some fence post holes started, and Ava helped as well. We are still working on filling up the beds with compost, and making the fence, but we are on schedule for planting in the next week or so. It is lots of work, but very satisfying to have this come together. As they say, “The best things in life require lots of hard work!”

We had a truck load of compost delivered from our local dairy farm. No matter what size the garden, there is something truly beautiful about getting your hands into the earth and growing some of your own food. It’s a fantastic way to expose your children to where food comes from.

If you have the space, make a garden bed for your children to plant and maintain. Some things to grow in the kids garden are; sweet peas, carrots, baby greens like kale, radishes, strawberries and if you have the space for a small teepee – grow some green beans!

Build a green been teepee and plant beens and sunflowers around it!

Seed Savers Exchange:

A fantastic seed company to support is Seed Savers Exchange a nonprofit organization that “aims to conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.”

https://www.seedsavers.org

GMO OMG is an eye opening food film produced by a concerned dad about the lack of research and use of GMO’s in our food is GMO OMG by Jeremy Seifer:

Some great books for kids and adults about gardening:

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