Monday, February 20, 2012

Itching for Spring

I have been noticing that some of my trees are just starting to get the very first signs of leaves. This makes me want spring even more than I already was. I can't wait to try my garden again this year (last year was a failure, I just did not have time so the deer got everything I did plant).

Since it is not really time to plant things outside yet I decided to have the kids plant some little fast growing things inside that don't get too huge. I highly recommend doing this with kids. It is so fun for them to see the plants come up and change. They also learn the responsibility of helping the plant to live by keeping it watered. I love to teach them about how the seeds need water, warmth, and sun to grow. They enjoy learning about the roots, stem, and leaves as the plant comes up (can we say science).

All you really need for this project is a container, some dirt, seeds, and water.

We only had seeds left from last year when we decided to do this so we were not sure if they would come up. We decided to use basil because it is supposed to  be easy to grow and arugula because it has been easy in the past. Later as it gets closer to the time that we can plant outside we will probably do many other things.

We cut the top off of a milk carton, filled it with dirt, and each of the kids put in a few seeds. As might be predicted my little girl started mixing the dirt around so we are not sure which seeds are where anymore. Next we added water and covered the whole things in plastic wrap to act as a little green house.

Done. Now we just need to remember to water and wait for the plants to grow!

A few notes about indoor planting. I have found that beans and peas, squash, and melon do not make good indoor plants or seedlings unless you have somewhere to plant them almost immediately outside or have a really big pot and lots of room for them to spread out. They grow really quickly and need to be transplanted fast. I have also heard that squash and melon do not like being transplanted.

Herbs that you use in the kitchen can make really good indoor gardens all year round and are great for kiddos you just need to make sure to get them enough light, water, and feed them (an adult job please).

This kind of project is great because it provides a sensory experience, helps to use motor skills, responsibility (taking care of the plant), science education, and connects you back to your food.

What kind gardening do you do at this time of year?

I found a great online garden planning tool two years ago that is for a vegetable garden. You get to plan where to plant things and what to plant. It tells you how many to plant in a square foot along with many other instructions. You can buy the seeds on the site too. It is free to design your garden. I think the thing I like most about it is the ability to start planning ahead.

Happy planting!

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