School is back in session and it’s time to get our youngsters out of the cafeteria and into the garden–their very own school garden.
From aphids to zinnias, beets to watermelon, children can gain a wealth of valuable knowledge from participating in a garden, but they need guidance. And who better to guide them than you?
“Me? But I don’t have time for a garden.”
Of course you do—you simply don’t realize it yet! Gardens don’t have to be time-consuming. Nor do they have to be stressful. I mean, where in the garden manual does it say you must sacrifice every ounce of your free time and sanity for the sake of growing vegetables? More
As our school year winds to a close, the kids are dutifully preparing for next year, eager for another season in the garden. We’ve planted our seeds, watched them grow and have reaped our bounty. Now comes the question: What to do with the seeds?
Why sell them, of course! We’re forward-thinking self-sustaining gardeners with a mind for planning, and we know that if we sell some of our seeds, we’ll have enough money to purchase more nifty magnifying glasses, spray bottles, worm poop and the like! (We can grow and harvest seeds, but we’re NOT harvesting worm poop.)
And where are we going to store our seeds? How about these fabulous seed packets?
Aren’t they divine? The kids made them and it was so easy. First, we sat in our circle of creativity. More
These delightful little nuts are a joy to grow. Not only do they mature through the summer season, they take their time doing so–while YOU go on vacation! Yep, plant these puppies in April/May and check back in July/August to reap your bounty!
Okay, just kidding. You don’t want to leave anything alone that long–except maybe your bathroom scale–because who knows what could pay your garden a visit in the meantime? Not that peanuts are prone to insects or disease, they aren’t really. Pretty tolerant from what I can see and living with me–plants need to be tough. I vacation! I write! I have other things to do! (Don’t we all?)
That said, optimum practice is to “visit” your garden on a daily basis. Not “work” or “weed” or “water” but simply visit. Say it with me: “Ah…it’s so lovely out here among the beds of lush green fruits and veggies.” More
PoAlmost literally, with the weather we’ve been having today! Rain, rain, go away… We’ve got work to do in our garden and getting drenched while doing so isn’t our idea of fun. Okay, the kids might disagree with me there, but you get the idea. Sending them back to class with mud on their bodies and smiles on their faces is not how to make friends with the teacher. And I love teachers!
So we keep them on our good side, and reschedule our “swim.” Thank goodness we have a few classes where we can stagger the harvest. Middle schoolers had a ball digging through the dirt (never too old, are they?) and since it was their last class for the day, no problem. Teaching them the finesse of hunting for potatoes was another story.
You see, when you harvest your potatoes, you must do so with some restraint. Dive-bombing your shovel into the dirt is not helpful, because you will likely tear the skin of your hidden gems before you ever see them. And torn, ripped up potatoes do not store as well as clean, bruise-free, stab-free ones do. So tread lightly, proceed with caution. Use your tool to loosen the dirt around the potato plant and then gently dig through with gloved hands. Middle schoolers opted to go glove-free. Go figure.
But they were successful! “Throw me another one for the bucket!”
“Ack! Don’t throw it–don’t you remember me telling you to be gentle?” More
The students hit the garden running–literally. It’s understandable. Gardening is exciting! I mean, have you ever seen what a real “bunch” of broccoli looks like on the plant?
It’s cool. Fascinating, really. Mind you most of these kids have never seen broccoli still attached to the stalk. No trip to the grocery store, no plastic wrap, and you can eat it? You bet. But eat it before it goes to flower.
By then, the bees are swarming and the plant is throwing its energy into creating seed pods. More
The kids have been diligently tending their garden, learning about the cold, learning the ways of crop rotation. Rotating crops helps to improve soil structure, increases a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and aids in pest control. As we prepare to harvest and begin the new season, organic gardeners need to know what they grow, know what grows where, when and why. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?
But we make crop rotation easy at BloominThyme and sing our way through the garden ~ beans – leaves – roots and fruits! Beans – leaves – roots and fruits! More
Yes, I know it’s 80°F today in Florida, but last weekend it was cold. I mean really cold — 32°F of cold. And as I mentioned, it was over the weekend.
Unfortunately, the garden lady doesn’t go to school on the weekend. Yep. Covered my potatoes at home but at school? No could do.
So I did what any wise old sage would do and planned this week’s lesson around the realities of life.
“Sorry kids, Mother Nature got us on this one. Layered the landscape in cold when we were least able to protect against it.” (That, and your garden lady completely forgot about to bring sheets with her to school on Friday.) It happens. It’s real life. We cope.
Printing out the pages, I tucked them in my pretty floral folder and went to school. Walked the kids out to the garden and stopped cold in my tracks. “What the–” More
You mean between field trips to the butterfly gardens and fossil museum? Christmas break and Martin Luther King Day? Well, they’ve been in the garden, that’s where, expanding and tilling and generally having a grand old time!
You see, we have learned a valuable lesson. Plants need sunlight to grow and they need a good dose of it–especially during the winter months. During spring and summer, our Florida kids enjoy an early afternoon break in the shade, but right now? Not so much. More
This week, garden duty was all about vigilance. What’s eating our tomatoes? What smashed our pumpkin? What burrowed beneath our squash?
All good questions, and thankfully, we have Upper Elementary on the lookout. Many of our tomatoes are beginning to turn red and we want nothing to jeopardize their progress. Ruh-roh. Too late. Moms–close your eyes. The ick factor will scare you… More
You know it’s a good day in the compost pile when this little fella is making his home in your homemade dirt. Can you see him? He’s the curvy-looking stick.
It means nice, damp conditions. It means nutrients. It means this compost will be AWESOME for garden use–all of which we learned this week in our lessons (listed below). But better yet, a compost pile is just plain fun. More