Friday, May 25, 2012

Gardening is for the Birds - and Us

I'm seeing a lot of pecks in my tomatoes but have been warned that once a guinea tastes a tomato  - you may not be eating any yourself. Since there is not a grasshopper in sight (also a favorite food of guineas) I'll let them have some and pick a few tomatoes while they are still a little green to take inside.
Why Gardening is Good for Children

We are very happy to have squash, zucchini, okra and cucumbers grow in this hot dry Texas climate. We sprout most of our plants from seeds and sprouted beans indoors. If you really want a cheap source of nourishment and protein, consider sprouting beans. Just soak beans in water and rinse everyday for several days. Getting children to eat them may be a different story. Perhaps you can sneak a few in a salad or blend them in the food processor making a cool fruit or veggie drink. 

 

Why Gardening is Good for Children
  • They have a hands-on and very visual learning experience
  • Teaches responsibility, patience, and respect for food and our earth
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Promotes cooking skills
Easy Indoor Garden: Bean Sprouts

Why Gardening is Good for Adults
  • Saves on groceries 
  • Food is healthier
  • Beautiful flowers attract birds and butterflies
  • Gardening and bird watching is relaxing

Sunflowers Attract Birds
Recycle Garden Scraps

Nothing goes to waste here on our humble little "chicken" farm. I rarely use my garbage disposal. The chickens love our table and garden scraps and the dog eats any leftover meat. We live by some wheat fields. It is amazing to watch the farmers thresh the wheat with their huge combines, I have truly grown to appreciate how a tiny seed grows into a beautiful plant providing our nourishment. Just pick a wheat germ from a plant and it makes you realize how precious every little morsel is... and makes me reflect on those who are hungry in this world. Our earth has enough resources to feed everyone if they are taught and given a chance to learn and a start.

Brody didn't like the bean sprouts - strange texture

If you don't have much space for a garden, consider growing herbs or tomatoes in pots. Your child will enjoy watering the plants and watching them grow. Do you have any gardening tips for children?

For a glimpse into kindergarten, see my book: Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Let us save your sanity, one play project at a time, with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn.  Both have been no. 1 bestsellers on Amazon. Also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. 










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29 comments:

  1. My kids love helping out with the gardening but we have not braved any vegetables yet, but I keep meaning to make a small raised bed. A great way to get children to respect the food we eat and be part of the process.

    Thanks for sharing on Family Frolics.

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    1. I love your blog and linky parties. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! Have a wonderful Memorial Day.

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  2. I can't wait for my little nugget to get a little older so we can start a garden! We're military so we rent and move a lot now, but I'm hoping to start a potted garden soon; they're so lovely.

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    1. Nicole - thank you for visiting and for your families service to our country. Some vegetables do very well in pots - like tomatoes. Have a wonderful Memorial Day and take care.

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  3. Hi from Australia! I love the look of your garden. I hope the naughty birds don't eat too many of your tomatoes. Also, I hope you get a chance to try my favourite zucchini slice recipe :)
    My daughter is 14 months old. She loves watering our herb garden.. well she loves water. I have to hold the watering can or she'll pour it over herself. Happy gardening with your lovely family.

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    1. Katz - Your recipe does look wonderful. I'm sure I'll have a chance to try it - lots of zucchini now. I do have cilantro, mint, and parsley growing in pots. Great to cook with. Bet your daughter does enjoy helping with the watering - good excuse to play in the water. Thank you so much for visiting.

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  4. We have had a lot of luck with cucumbers in our area of TX too. This year they are absolutely ginormous and my daughter loves them which is a big bonus. I've tried for three years with tomatoes and given up hope on them. Between the birds, squirrels, and dry heat, it's impossible to get much of a harvest. Going to plant some okra seeds tomorrow. =)

    Thank you for sharing your garden! I love swapping gardening stories even though I am still such a novice at it.

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    1. Thank you so much Rebekah. I love your gardening post. Such beautiful photos. We grew sunflowers too and are hoping for some red and blue birds.

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  5. Susan, I've always know that gardening can teach kids a lot but am just not the gardening type! I had a few attempts with the kiddo but of course, they all failed :)

    To compensate, we do experiments instead :)

    Hope you had an awesome memorial day weekend!

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    1. Anne - whatever works to keep children learning. My kindergartners loved science - more than anything. I always tried to connect it to reading, writing and math. I'll never forget when the mealworm turned into a beetle and the container fell on the floor scattering mealworms and sawdust everywhere - screaming kids and me trying to find the live bugs. Whew. Teachers needs more pay.

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  6. Thanks for finding us from the Kids Co-Op. We love your site too! And I agree - gardening is so great for kids. I have the pickiest eater in the world. There's no way he'll eat a tomato if it's part of dinner but if he can pick it off the vine he'll at least try a bite before spitting it out.

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    1. Tomatoes have a strange texture and taste acidic to many. I hated them when I was young - so there is hope! Thank you so much for visiting.

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  7. We have a container garden growing. I think I planted a little to much in it though .

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    1. That's easy to do. You can always thin it out. I had to replant some tomato plants that came from seed in a pot. The guineas are still eating the tomatoes though and I even saw the dog with one in her mouth! Thanks for visiting.

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  8. This is just what I needed - some inspiration to get gardening with my little one. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's really fun once you get into it - and feels great to fetch something from the garden for supper. Health and cheap. Thanks for visiting. Love your blog.

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  9. oh thats one of the things I really miss, when we had chickens we never had to throw any food in the bin. I miss them. I love that you are growing all your plants from seed. We are trying to grow butternut squash from seed. I had some success with them a couple of years ago but not seeing any shoots yet this year.

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    1. Sometimes we get results with seeds and sometimes not. I have to buy some plants but I found a green growing ball in the garden that I guess is a cantelope - just threw seeds out there after we ate it. You just never know. Thanks for visiting! I enjoy your blog.

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  10. I love sprouts and that is a lot cheaper than buying them from the store. We have our garden almost all ready. We planted some spinach, lettuce and radishes a while ago and they are already ready! Gardening is so good for kids too. They love to learn about how their food grows and it helps them to try new veggies. Something about picking their own food makes them want to eat it. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Janine - thank you so much for visiting. I'm the only one who eats sprouts at my house - so far. Still working on it though. They are really a cheap easy source of nutrition. Have a great day.

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  11. Hi Susan. How nice it is to reap the fruit (and vege) of your labours :). So glad you shared this at the Weekly Kids Co-op.

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    1. I love the Weekly Kids Co-op. You have a wonderful blog. Thank you for visiting.

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  12. Gardening is wonderful for kids!

    Thank you for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

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  13. This has inspired me to get in the garden this holiday. We did lots last year but haven't had the weather to do much yet.

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  14. It is really relaxing for me. I enjoy just standing there with a hose and watering. Crazy, I guess - but no one is around and it is peaceful. I'm a bird and butterfly watcher. Thank you so much for visiting.

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  15. Oh, I LOVE my garden and am so glad that other people love theirs too! I've also noticed that since my kids see things growing, they are willing to taste anything. It's really upped their veggie intake. :)

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    1. Caroline - Thank you so much for visiting. You have lovely blogs. My garden sure brings me joy and fresh food. I still haven't seen any red birds even though I have sunflowers - but have lots of other birds and butterflies visiting. Take care.

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  16. This actually give me an idea to run a gardening holiday programs with kids in our centre. Could be quite a good activity for us all and also help them understand the importance of preserving nature.

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