Do you sometimes find opportunities, holidays... whole seasons slip away while you are stuck in planning mode? I am guilty. I plan and pre-plan trips, special occasions, and projects. But I am learning to set aside schedules, research and lists in exchange for sheer spontaneity, enthusiasm and action.
Next week is the official launch of The Homeschool Village Garden Challenge, and I don't want your family to miss a moment! Regardless of space or resource constraints, gardening is an attainable and amazing way for your family to grow memories together. That, and, well... kids just like to play in dirt! (Ok, so do I.... let's be real. The farming gene didn't skip me. I'll take muddy hands over a lovely manicure any day.)
So while I am sifting through seed packets and hunting down tools scattered throughout the garage, I thought I would share a few ideas and resources with you.
Gardening on a budget? Rinse, dry and save seeds from fruits and veggies your family eats which grow well in your planting/hardiness zone. (Seed packets are also incredibly inexpensive.) Save containers otherwise headed to recycling to start your seedlings. Or help little hands shape perfect planting pots by pressing a few layers of old newspapers around the mold of a muffin tin or unbreakable cup. Begin a compost bucket for fertilizer. Capture rain water for dry day watering. A quick internet search on frugal gardening will yield oodles of ideas for gardening without digging a hole in your budget.
Need a little helping hand? If you need help knowing what grows well in your region or would just like some personal guidance on getting started, those who love to garden are generally eager to pass along advice to newcomers. Find a neighbor who has a great garden and ask for some tips. Stop by a local plant nursery, and let them share their expertise! My farming family has always appreciated the wealth of resources and information available through local USDA extension offices. Find yours here!
For a collection of ideas on making your garden child-friendly, take a peek here.
Make it a theme party! Kids love a good theme. If your family savors pizza night as much as mine, consider a pizza garden. Do you have a little dreamer who would twirl in the sunlight, their glistening locks floating on perfumed breezes of colorful blooms? A butterfly garden flowers into a delightful storybook wonderland. Do you have a budding chef with a sophisticated palate? Perhaps their culinary experiments would blossom with an herb or salsa garden. I've even seen gardens designed to create a family flag or crest for your mini knight in shining armor! Choose a theme centered around your child's favorite interests, and let your imagination go wild!
Have a hunting and gathering expedition at the library! A quick search of my local library produced a wide variety of fantastic kids books including gardening resources for: beginning readers, science experiments, garden crafts and recipes, attracting wildlife, container gardens, indoor gardens... even sneaker gardens!
So... ready? Join us next week for the HSV Garden Challenge!
I'll bring the lemonade,