How Does Your Garden Grow?

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.”

Grass Growing

Our grass!

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.

With the increase in the thermometer, comes the desire to push the books off to the side and get our hands dirty. It’s time for some hands-on learning.

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.)

Tulips

Tulip Bulbs

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.

Cilantro

Cilantro

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.

Orange Blossoms

Orange Blossoms

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?

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17 thoughts on “How Does Your Garden Grow?

  1. Our whole family works in the garden. I can’t wait to get ours going, but it is currently snowing here! So jealous of your warm weather! My kids enjoy the planting, but they like harvesting the best. Me, I enjoy the whole process…especially getting my hands and feet dirty!

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  2. This is something I am so looking forward to doing with my little one! I am by no means a gardener but have been itching to learn and try for a while and I just think this is one of the best skills to impart (soooo wish I had been into gardening when I was a child). We will be planting our first garden this year as well but I am not sure how much involvement we will get from our two-year old yet. I want to start learning now so I will be proficient enough to give her the right information and teaching when she is old enough to be heavily involved. Kudos for the successful garden and teamwork!

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  3. We had beautiful weather here today too, it was a snow ice mix, lovely I tell ya! :/ I am huge on gardening and we have the space, we have 2.5 acres so I don’t have to be picky, I can plant it all! We also raise our pigs, chickens and turkeys. It’s spring in the house though. http://raisingegggatherers.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/spring-is-here-right/

    Jealous of your warm weather and can’t wait till we have some of our own!

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  4. Down here in the swamps of southeast Louisiana, we had been a warm 65-70 degrees for about 2 weeks now, I been in shorts, I have had the house open during daytime hours. All of a sudden yesterday, temps dropped down to 50 as a high, today, 44 was the high. Tomorrow temps are suppose to work their way back up again. I swear, the plants/seeds/ bulbs around here are going to be so darn confused, it’s pathetic.

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  5. Loved the article. We live down in Southern AZ and grow all year round. Our winter crops are almost done. Spring came early and warm this year. Fruit trees are all blooming. Peaches and apricots are set and figs are starting to leaf.

    All the children work in the garden and our left over produce is sold at the local farmers market. The children get half the money and the other half pays for all our expenses and Mom’s fun money.

    We are happy spring is in the air!

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  6. My helpers all grew up! I do all the gardening solo now – I just came in from planting a “Gold Rush Apple Tree,” and I feel like I’m about 100 years old! LOL 😀 (it’s been a lo-o-o-ong winter)

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    • I bet those apples are yummy. Unfortunately, our weather doesn’t get cold enough to plant apple trees (I understand the ground needs to freeze in order for them to bloom well.) We do go visit apple country every fall though!

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      • Well – you have citrus trees in your yard. I have a little Meyer Lemon tree in my family room that will get to spend the summer outside, but that’s it. Hopefully my future greenhouse will expand the options. I’d love to grow dwarf avocados! You are correct about apples needing a lengthy chilling period, although I understand that Grannie Smiths can be grown in the South – but I don’t know about California. Cherries do extremely well here, too.
        Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord has given us so many trees to sustain us – no matter where we live?
        (for the tree of the field is man’s life) Deuteronomy 20:19b

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  7. Sounds like you had a wonderful afternoon! We are still about 6-8 weeks away from being able to plant outside here. The snow has almost melted, but there may be more to come this season. We will start some seeds indoors soon. The kids do help in the garden and also with the canning after the harvest.

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  8. Sounds like you have a wonderful and beautiful garden 🙂 I also liked all the ways you were able to work in learning and education into the natural run of the day. You inspire me for sure in that area. : )

    As far as gardening, we don’t do any of that at home simply because I haven’t figured out how to keep anything alive for longer than a few days yet. My Grandma Jane use to tell me I had a “charcoal thumb” because after killing her cactuses in a matter of three days flat when I was supposed to be getting a confidence booster in my gardening skills she said “black thumb” just wasn’t descriptive enough for me. lol

    I do thoroughly enjoy gardens and I truly enjoy flowers of all kinds and varieties. My boys enjoy them too and are delighted everytime my mom lets them dig up her dirt and bury things too. haha I am looking into small beginner garden kits that they could possibly handle because my mom agreed to try and help them learn to garden or at the very least help them plant something. : )

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