Spring Gardening Ideas for the Family


Spring is the perfect time to plant a garden with your child. It's educational, good exercise, a great bonding activity, and great for self-esteem.

PROPER TOOLS

Little hands need the right sized tools or they'll be frustrated, and "toys" are not sturdy enough. Child's garden gloves are available here: www.mybackyard.com/acatalog/.mybackyard_Shop_Child_s_Garden_Gloves_110.html. Gardens4Kids ( http://gardens4kids.com ) offers a package: a set of 3 children's hand gardening tools, 1 set of children's gardening gloves, and a child's watering can.

They also offer a gardening kit with tips for planting with children. It contains: seed packages with instructions written for new gardeners and/or children; materials and materials needed checklist; a planting map; a harvest guide activity
worksheet and calendar for predicting harvest dates; plant labels; a waterproof pencil; and 20 grid markers. (http://gardens4kids.com )

THEMATIC

Try planting a small plot around a theme - A Pizza Garden with tomatoes and herbs. A Salsa Garden with hot peppers, onions and tomatoes. A Butterfly garden with bright flowers
and butterfly 'food' (see below).

MAKE A GRASS SNAKE OR SCARECROW

To make a grass snake, fill a sock with dirt and grass seed, place it in the sun and keep it damp. In 7-14 days, the 'snake' will have 'hair'!

To make a scarecrow, take a large piece of cardboard and let the child lie down and get in a funny pose. Trace around the child and then cut the scarecrow out. Decorate him or her with yarn, waterproof markers, googily eyes, old pieces of clothing - whatever you have on hand. You can mount it on a stake.

TEE PEE

A bean tee pee brings great results and is easy to so. Use stakes, poles or bamboo poles 12' long. Arrange them teepee style in a 5' circle, leaving room for a small entrance and pushing the ends into the ground. Tie the tops together with heavy twine or masking tape. Plant different kinds of string
bean seeds (something that'll grow in your region) at the base of the teepee, and in a couple of months, the teepee will be covered with beans, leaves and vines.

BUTTERFLY FEEDER

This is exactly what you'll see in botanical gardens. Take a plastic pot saucer, sand and about 1 T. of cow or horse manure and an overripe piece of banana, apple or pear. Place sand and
manure in saucer with small amount of water and add fruit. Voila! Butterflies will come!

SIMPLE BIRD BATH OR BIRD FEEDER

Here's an idea for a simple and inexpensive bird bath or feeder. Use a tomato cage, anchoring it firmly in the ground. Put one plastic plan saucer inside the top ring of the cage. Plant
vining plants such as nasturtiums or morning glory around the bottom. Fill the saucer with water for the birds, of poke a few holes in it for drainage and fill it with birdseed.

EDUCATIONAL

·Use a digital or throwaway camera to record progress in the garden and learn more about nature and photography. Put the photos in a scrapbook for memories!

·Place a rain gauge in the garden.

·Study the insects that come and what they do.

· Read about vegetables, fruits and flowers on the Internet.

·Be sure and don't take "the sun" for granted. Water and sun and good soil are what gardening is all about.

·The garden will need to be tended and this teaches responsibility. It needs to be watered, fertilized and weeded. Establish a regular schedule for tending the garden.

CELEBRATE THE HARVEST with flowers on the table, or a pizza, or hot sauce, or whatever the garden harvest has brought. Be sure and take more photos for the scrapbook.

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, offers coaching and Internet courses for your personal and professional development. EQ products available for licenses and businesses.





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