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Archive for the ‘planting’ tag

March 27th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Spring Gardening Preparation

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slide-1-garden

If you like to garden, or want to start one, now’s the time to get ready for planting! (Did we mention that April is National Gardening Month?) As the ground thaws, soil needs to be prepared in order to create the best growing medium for your plants. Different types of plants require different kinds of care, including the timing of their planting, exposure to sunlight, supplemented nutrition, watering, spacing, and harvesting. Get your kids involved and let them help you however they can. Here are some basic guidelines for starting your spring planting.

  1. Determine your frost date. If you live in an area where you get a true winter, it’s important that you know your area’s frost date to avoid planting too soon. There are quite a few online resources to help you figure it out. Try Dave’s Garden…you just put in your zip code and it tells you your frost risks and timing.
  2. Choose your plants. Gather your bulbs and seeds and determine which ones need to be planted first. Some plants can survive colder temperatures.
  3. Section your garden. Plants should be grouped by type and care. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, etc. should have their own sections. Keep their “requirements” in mind when you create your sections…some need lots of direct sunlight, while others thrive in shady spots.
  4. Test your soil. You should first make sure the soil is ready to be prepared. Heavy soil that is still wet from snow and rain will not let your plants breathe. You can tell it’s ready when you pick it up, squeeze it into a ball with your hands, and then drop it, or poke it. If it crumbles into small particles, it is dry enough to be worked. If it breaks into large clumps or stays in form, it is still too moist. Not all soil is equal, so learning a bit about your native soil will help you understand when it’s ready.
  5. Prepare your soil. There are a lot of things you can do to improve the medium your plants grow in. Without going into too much detail, consider looking into the various soil-improvement methods, including pH testing, composting, fertilizing, tilling, mulching, etc. Hint: Used coffee grounds and egg shells make great fertilizers!
  6. Plant! When your soil is ready, plant your seeds and bulbs, take care of them and watch them grow! Garden maintenance can be tedious, but rewarding. Make sure you water and fertilize as needed, and don’t forget to pick those pesky weeds!

Do you have a garden and have tips to share? Post them and/or pictures of your garden on our Facebook page!

 

Photo Credit: www.ivillage.com

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July 26th, 2013 at 10:26 am

Curing Summer Boredom

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Summer may only be half over, but it’s still not too early for boredom to already set in with you or your children.  After all, you can only spend so many hours at the pool or beach! There are still plenty of ways for everyone to stay occupied until school starts again.

  • Visit a local museum, zoo, or even an aquarium. Chances are the building will be air-conditioned and you’ll get to learn about all kinds of cool animals, artifacts, or science experiments.
  • Look for any upcoming events in your community, such as food festivals or carnivals. Some places even do outdoor movie nights to give you the experience of a drive-in movie without the cars.
  • But if you and the kids want a full drive-in movie experience, there are still some locations around the country. Maybe there’s one near you!
  • Check in with local churches, shelters, and community centers for volunteer opportunities this summer. Children can very often get involved and they will soon learn how rewarding it can be to give back.
  • Geocaching is fun for everyone, and all you need is a smart phone or GPS! Go to geocaching.com and search for the closest ones to you  The kids will love hunting for the geocache and seeing what’s inside!
  • Plant a garden.  There are many plants that grow well during the summer months, like cucumbers, lettuce, and radishes.  You can even get a head start on planting fall flower bulbs!
  • On really hot days, have a backyard water balloon fight or play in the sprinkler. These are easy ways to cool off without having to pack into the car.

Enjoy the second half of summer and take advantage of the beautiful weather while you have it!

How do you and your kids stay occupied during the summer months?

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April 10th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Starting a Garden

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Last week, we gave you some great tips on getting your children started on their very own garden. This week, I’d like to focus more on your own cultivations. Gardening is not only a great an inexpensive way to grow delicious vegetables or make your yard look gorgeous with colorful flowers and shrubs; beautifying your home will make you feel better on the inside.  Here are a few tips for making a beautiful backyard oasis:

Make sure your soil is adequately fertilized!  Instead of buying fertilizer, you can take a trip to the local grocery store! Believe it or not, eggshells can provide soil with the nutrients they need to grow healthy plants.  You can either gather the broken eggshells and grind them into a powder or just put the shells directly on the soil.

Remove any large stones from the soil that will impede the growth of your plants or vegetables.

Decide what you want to grow! Burpee sells more varieties of seeds than I had ever imagined and I get gratifying results. My favorite seeds to plant at this time of year are basil, tomatoes, carrots and broccoli. As for flowers, now is the time to plant annuals. You can either buy the seeds or go to your local nursery for the actual flowers and plant them right into the ground!

Make sure you read the instructions on the back of the package of seeds you buy to determine how deep they must be planted.

Be sure to plant your seeds in an area where they will get direct sunlight. If it’s not raining a lot in your area, you will need to be diligent about providing your plants with adequate water. The higher the temperature, the more water you will need.

Plants need TLC just as humans and animals do. If you follow these steps, you will soon be watching plants and vegetables sprout from the ground and you can enjoy your beautiful new garden!  Happy planting!

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April 3rd, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Gardening for Kids

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Gardening is an outdoor activity you can involve your kids in easily, and it’s a great learning experience for them. It’s an opportunity for you to teach them about plants and how they grow, healthy foods like vegetables and fruit, and most importantly, responsibility, all while still having fun! Here are some tips for how to introduce your child to the wonders of gardening:

1)   Designate an area as his/her own garden.

Plywood planks can be used to actually make a square garden box for them, or you can just give them an area of your landscape. Let them help you “prepare the area” with weeding, tilling, fertilizing, etc.

2)   Let them make decisions.

When you go to the store to purchase your gardening needs, let them choose one to three different seeds or bulbs. Steer them in the right direction by helping them pick ones that don’t require special care and are easy and fast-growing, like beans, sunflowers, morning glory, and marigolds . Teach them about the different types of plants and help them understand that some need special light, soil, watering, etc.

3)   Teach them how to plant.

Help them do the planting but guide them instead of actually doing. You’ll be surprised how much your little one will enjoy poking holes in the soil, dropping in seeds, covering them and watering the area.

4)   Teach them to organize and maintain.

Help them create garden labels by writing the names on popsicle sticks so they can keep track of where they placed their different plant types. Then, help them create a “growth chart” where they can keep track of how the plants are doing and remind them to water and take care of them.

You’ll see how excited your kids will get as they see their plants grow. If you choose vegetables, when they’re ripe for picking you can teach them how to harvest and clean them, and EAT them! This website  has even more tips and tricks for family gardening.

What will YOU plant with your kids this year?

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