Sunday, April 05, 2009

Gardening with Kids

Earthworms, dirt and kids. Nothing is more fun than gardening with a child. Whether it is creating an elaborate sunflower bower or a bean teepee or a zinnia zoo, children gravitate to the soil and let their imagination take over.

Herbs lend themselves well to gardening with children. All of those textures, shapes and scents give children hours of enjoyment. What child hasn’t come running to a parent or grandparent and said “I know where the fairies live” and take you to look under the lamb’s ears. Some herbs that children find enjoyable are lavender, pineapple sage, mint, Johnny Jump-ups, Love in a Mist, Thyme and Scented Geraniums. Little girls love using the leaves to make little dresses or cups to hold tea for that special party. Little boys love sailing leaves down a stream or making airplanes.

There are no special tools when it comes to gardening with children. A little time and patience, some large seeds or sturdy little plants and a shovel is all that is needed. Children love to see things grow and to be able to take care of something that is all theirs. Remind them to water and tend their seedlings and plants and watch them nurture that plant until it is grown. Make sure to put a tag with the child’s name on it next to the plant to remind everyone whose it is. You will indeed make them proud.

To make a sunflower bower sow several tall growing sunflower seeds around each leg of a tripod. As the sunflowers grow gently wind them around each pole all the way to the top. The tripod will fill in with the leafy sunflowers and the flowers will cover the “roof”.
Here at the farm we are growing our sunflowers all around the little green playhouse. Won’t it be pretty? And we will make the birds happy too.

Swamp Water
A large cooler
Lots of ice
Lots of fresh herbs…mints, pineapple sage, anise hyssop, lemongrass, lemon verbena, rose petals (unsprayed), monarda and edible flowers
Early in the morning add ice and fresh herbs to the cooler. Let it all steep together for several hours. A delightfully cool drink loved by kids and adults too.

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