While other states seems to be going through a massive cold snap, in sunny California we are enjoying comfortable temps in the vicinity of seventy degrees. As Mr. Rogers would say, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
Ah! There is nothing quite like the beginning of spring. The air feels warmer, the breeze gently caresses your skin, and things begin to grow.
Every spring the kiddos and I head outdoors and see if we can perk up our garden of growing things, hopefully coercing plants to bloom. This year is no different. We broke open our science box and dug out all things plants.
First we learned about which plants grew best in our zone. Then we talked about working up a budget and how to best use our resources. Next, we categorized the seed packets we had already acquired and figured out which we most wanted to plant. (We are very limited on space and resources, so we needed to be choosy.)
Now that the research portion of our learning had been taken care of, it was time to get our hands in some dirt! We headed out to Lowe’s and purchased the few items we deemed necessary, then got to work.
We began by prepping the soil and learning about different soil types. We talked about which type was best for each of our plantings and how to regulate soil when necessary. We also reviewed history, while digging, talking about the Dust Bowl and the need to cultivate soil.
Once our soil was ready to go, we carefully chose which spot to put each planting. We talked about sun exposure, water needs, and the delicacy of each plant. We agreed on which spots were best and then had at it.
While the kids were getting dirty, we talked about how the plants would grow. The younger kids thought we would see blooms right away, but with some quick showing and telling, they soon began to understand. We explained how important the root system was and the stages of each plant’s development.
After we planted the new items in our pots, we quickly realized there were several other small jobs that needed to be taken care of. So, we got down to work and taught the kiddos how to transplant some kaffir lilies which had overcrowded a few pots. Hooray! More color in our garden, with no additional costs to us.
Planting wasn’t the only thing we were going to learn. I wanted the kids to also learn maintenance. New things are awesome, but we also need to help existing plants continue their growth.
We have several citrus trees which provide fruit, maintaining those is important to our family. So, out came the tree food and some fun hands-on learning about the care of trees.
Every spring, we also try to spruce up the grass in the backyard. We fill in gaps which might have taken over and help green up the lawn. The kids helped to seed, fertilize, and water our space.
All together, I think we did a great job working as a team. Our new plants (cilantro, basil, green onion, tulips, and wild flowers) are growing wonderfully; our citrus trees have begun to flower with wonderfully smelling blooms; and our grass is starting to fill in nicely.
In my opinion, it was a very successful afternoon. Not only did we have fun working together, but we added massive amounts of wrinkles to our brains.
Do your children help in the garden? Which is their favorite task to help with?