Request 2019 Seed Catalogs

Let the fun begin!

Seed Catalogs are about to arrive in the mailbox, and the kids and I can’t wait to get ahold of them! I always let my grandchildren pick out and order some of their own seeds. I usually give them a limit, let’s say 5-6 seed packets that will be their very own.

Now that both kids have a few years gardening experience behind them, I encourage them to order some cool season, warm season, and fall season seed choices. My granddaughter, for example, will want to plant peas both in the spring AND in the fall. My grandson usually sticks with the warm season veggies like tomatoes and peppers for his choices. I round out the order with the herbs, veggies, and flowers that we ALL love, including ones I pick for my daughter and son-in-law (who loves peppers with A LOT more HEAT than I do!)

Don’t pass up the opportunity right now to get on the mailing list to receive your favorite seed catalogs. If you don’t know where to start, or you want to know what companies I recommend,

sign up to get a list of my favorite, tried-and-true seed companies. It’s FREE!

Family Traditions - Giving Children Roots and Wings

“There are only two lasting gifts we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

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Today, I want to share one of my favorite blog posts, “How to Grow Happy Kids with Family Rituals.” It echoes my own childhood experience and expresses what I’ve tried to do as a mother and grandmother.

One family tradition I am passing on to my grandchildren is how to garden. I want to share with them the joys and dependable seasonal rituals of growing homegrown food and show them how Mother Nature works together with gardeners of all ages, even if it is only on a small piece of land.

Family traditions, like the roots of plants, anchor children from the buffeting winds of life, feed their souls, and give them a strong foundation from which to grow tall, reach for the sun, and bloom in their own unique ways.



Reflections on a Fall Garden

Winter is long in this part of the country. One way I try to postpone the quickly approaching “fall garden goodbye” is by planting some fall edibles in August. Now that autumn is just days away, these plants (beets, onions, carrots, Swiss chard, etc.) are happily getting established and will provide a mid-to-late autumn harvest.

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But even with these late veggies, the closer we get to our first average frost date around October 8, the more lonesome the garden becomes. The towering tomato stalks get dismantled, the lush bean and cucumber vines get chopped, the herbs start bolting one by one, and the milkweed releases its fluffy seeds.

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Thankfully, there are still some beautiful swan songs yet to be performed by Mother Nature. For example, soon the bright red pineapple sage blossoms will grace the garden, and the lemon verbena will unfurl delicate white blossoms. These two plants look more like shrubs this time of year. And then, there’s the garden’s final curtain call — the turning of the majestic autumn tree leaves! They will eventually sacrifice themselves into huge mounds in my compost bin, where by next spring they will complete their miraculous transformation into rich compost.

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Because it was the first year I started chronicling my experiences as In The Garden With Grandma, reflecting back on this season was particularly fun!

I am grateful for what Mother Nature and this humble gardener have accomplished together. I am inspired by the bubbly enthusiasm of my grandchildren, and the supportive encouragement of my family, friends, and followers. So come on Fall and Winter! There will be plenty to keep us busy until spring comes again.


The Joy of Growing Food with Children

New Beginnings! Today is the first day of school for my grandkids. It's always such an exciting day! My daughter is a teacher, as I was, so there's a definite rhythm we fall into and feel in our souls this time of year. 

I know I have done my part this season to share healthy, organic food with our family all summer long, to teach them even more about how to grow their own food, and to provide lots of fun when they come over to play in the garden and pick food they can eat right off the vine.

There is also a certain nostalgia that kicks in about now. The days are slowly growing shorter by 2-3 minutes each and every day, but the plants remain at their very lushest and most abundant stage. Mother Nature is putting out her very best efforts, and it shows. Both She and We Gardeners know what is waiting right around the corner in our part of the country -- autumn's chill, the first frost, and then the snows of Winter. Walking around the yard at twilight is often a bitter sweet endeavor, a reminder that Summer is soon coming to an end.

Endings and Beginnings. The rhythm and joy of life. 

Garden Vegetables Picked This Morning

Garden Vegetables Picked This Morning

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Garden Walks and Tours

First of all, I never “win” anything (raffles, the lottery, playing Old Maid with my grandkids ...).

However, in the spring I won a free ticket to a Garden Walk in a village a few towns over which was held on Saturday. Even though I walked in a few rain showers, it was one of the highlights of my summer so far.

On April 8, 2018, I wrote on my blog that “Gardeners are Kindred Spirits.” 

Saturday's Garden Walk reinforced that sentiment as generous gardeners opened up their outdoor spaces to friends and strangers alike, revealing incredibly beautiful gardens! I snapped pictures with my iPhone when inspired with an idea that I might want to implement in my own humble garden. 

You can do the same! Go on a Garden Walk and become inspired!

 

 

The Wonderful World of Soil

Happy Earth Day Week!

Just take a moment to think about this statistic:


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A few weeks ago, I attended an extremely informative class about soil at our local arboretum. To garden successfully, the first step to take is to build healthy soil. Both the "how" and "why" we add organic matter to our garden beds are important lessons to teach children. After all, it takes up to 500 years to build one inch of topsoil.

To help you and your family celebrate Earth Day, I have compiled a great list of books and awesome websites geared towards children ages 4-11 to help them learn all about the wonderful world of soil. 

Feed Your Soil From Kitchen Scraps

My grandkids love the homemade applesauce I make, especially when they can help me by nibbling around the apple cores and sprinkling the cinnamon in the pot. The aroma of applesauce cooking in the kitchen is a memory I hope they will always remember! But the fun doesn't have to end there. I have taught the kids the importance of composting, so they enjoy the chore of helping me collect and sprinkle the kitchen scraps out in the yard to feed the soil

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This Website 2 Months Old Today!

So excited to announce that it has been two months since starting this website InTheGardenWithGrandma.com. My granddaughter is under the weather today and I am going to take care of her, so this will be a QUICK entry. No better way to celebrate two months than to repost a great article that gives you yet another benefit of gardening with kids -- 😊👍❤️

 

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Harbingers of Spring

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Research has shown that "Background knowledge is the glue that makes learning stick." Why not take the opportunity to teach our children not only about gardening, but also about new words they can learn along the way? 

Yesterday, my grandkids and I took a late winter tour around the yard looking for signs of spring. We found daffodils peeking their heads above ground, strawberries with new green leaves venturing forth, and garlic just starting to emerge after a long winter nap (around here we plant garlic in the fall). 


But then we looked up and saw the buds on one of our three magnolia trees. The word that came to mind was "harbinger." As a teacher, I know the importance of developing a rich vocabulary in our children, and as a gardener, I realize how many chances there are to teach new words to kids while they are learning where food comes from and what a magical place the garden can be.

So continue to find opportunities to teach new words to children while you are in the garden. Keep a list of the words as they come up and post it somewhere the kids will see it often. Empowering kids with new knowledge will make them feel special, because they are!

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While We Wait . . .

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It can be hard to wait for the seeds to start sprouting, whether you decide to try winter sowing or  you decide to wait until the soil and weather are ready for direct sowing in the ground. In the meantime, show the kids what is happening underground after you plant the seeds by making a seed viewer.  We used a pea seed for this. It should take about 6-7 days in a sunny windowsill before you start seeing some action, and then each day you will see miraculous growth continue to take place. It's fun!


The old scout motto "Be Prepared" is a great life lesson, one of the many lessons Mother Nature can teach us when we partner up with her. Towards the end of February, every once in a while here in the Midwest we are blessed with a calm, warmer day in the 50s, a sure promise that spring will indeed come soon! Since planning ahead is essential to any gardener, start to teach your children about the importance of taking an inventory of your supplies during those occasional spring-like days. Clean out the garage or storage shed, lay out all the stakes, trellises, and garden tools to make sure you will have everything you need as soon as spring arrives. The kids can help with the sorting and the sweeping, but they will tire of the chore long before you do. Never underestimate the value of modeling for your kids. By completing the task, you will be proving to them that to enjoy the fruit of our labor, we indeed need to "Be Prepared."