This will be my kids second year to have their own gardens. They really enjoyed getting to decide what they would plant themselves, planting the seeds, then watching them come up. Weeding was a little iffy, but who likes that anyway? The gardens did very well, too! So, that was exciting stuff, harvesting their own flowers, spinning gourds, mini pumpkins, and some corn (there was a small weeding mishap with Rudy’s corn)! But, still, it was great and fun and they are looking forward to this year.
This year they each get a 12’x20′ area and I thought we should step up our planning skills from ordering two varieties, rummaging through Mom’s seed packets, then taking them outside and planting randomly So. . . here’s what we did.
I took 2 file folders for each child and glued the right flap from one to the left flap from the other, so I had a large tri-fold folder. Then, I cut out some old Christmas wrapping paper which had a cutting grid on the back, and cut out 12 squares wide by 20 squares long and glued it down grid side up. The idea is to introduce them to the idea of one square representing one square foot. Each of their gardens will be 240 square foot, so there are 240 squares on the grid. We blacked out space for between row walking space with a pencil.
Next, we got out this years Bakers Creek heirloom seeds catalog and they looked through it. This is my favorite catalog and my favorite seed company! They have exquisite photographs of each variety, and very good descriptions. The seeds always germinate well, they have excellent customer service, and they do work with farmers around the world to help them grow sustainably in impoverished areas, donating seeds to schools and working to educate about GMOs. Plus, if you are near Mansfield, MO you can visit their farm and Pioneer Village for a great afternoon!
The kids were allowed to pick out varieties that appealed to them. They each actually looked the catalog over page by page, we had fun with this and talked about the growing requirements, space requirements etc as they asked questions and in the context of their gardens, keeping it simple and fun because keeping the interest level up is probably THE most important aspect! They cut out the pictures of the varieties they chose to grow, and they glued them on in the space they want to plant them. Most of the Baker’s Creek pictures are about 1 1/2″ so if they want 1 plant and the space requirement for that variety is 1 1/2′ ( for instance cabbage) then the picture covers that area. If they want 4 plants, then we counted off the appropriate number of grids, marked the area with a pencil, and glued the photo in the middle of that area.
Both kids had a great time, and this project is adaptable for a wide age range. I have an 8 year old girl and a 14 year old boy, who has Down Syndrome.
While the enthusiasm is high you might want to keep the ball rolling with some fun garden tools!
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