Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What You Need to Garden Successfully With Your Kids

One appeal of gardening is that the barrier to entry is very low - that is, you need a patch of dirt or a pot, and some seeds (did I mention you can buy 4 packs for a dollar at the dollar store?!) and you're good to go. However, there are of course some tools and equipment you can get for your child to have a more successful experience.

My child model demonstrating the two most important pieces of gear - clogs and shovel.
My kids both have garden clogs, and I have finally somewhat trained them to step into them the second they step outside. We do no shoes indoors, so otherwise they would be running around outside barefoot, getting their feet filthy in addition to stepping on every pointy leaf and objet out there. Garden clogs save a lot of drama. They each also have their own (because sharing is just too hard) hand trowel. For our family, those two things are the bare minimum. As they get older and more involved in the actual work - as opposed to digging holes in the rough vicinity of where I requested - I can see wanting a hand rake, gloves, and maybe even a gardening apron. (Heck, I'd like one of those.) But for now, they like getting their hands (and clothes... and faces... and....) dirty, and the feeling of helping with their own little shovels. More power to them.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Planting in the Moment

Outstanding in her field.
I went outside with my daughter yesterday afternoon on a beautiful sunny day. My intent was to pick a few peas, water, and call it a day, but when we got out there, she looked around and said, "Why don't we do some planting?" Indeed. So we (I) turned over a patch that most recently had done nothing for some allium seeds, and we put in the carrot and beet seeds I got at the dollar store. Fingers crossed. (That basically sums up my whole gardening philosophy.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Basil (or Lettuce?) from Seed!

So exciting - my basil pot indoors is finally putting up some teeny little shoots! (Or maybe it's lettuce - I had labeling issues. Hmm.) Compared to the cilantro next door, which is practically ready to harvest, it's miniscule, but for a novice like me it's a thrill. Outside, nothing quite so exciting is going on. Something has been nibbling on the beet leaves down to the ground, so I've pretty much lost track of where they are. More cilantro is coming along nicely but the adjacent lettuce is not. So disappointing - I really thought there was a good shot here, in my moderate cool microclimate, of lettuce being a 4 season crop. Not only is it NOT, but I'm not even sure what season it does like!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


... And now after torrential rains, it's about 65 degrees. In the garden, the weeds made good use of the rains, so I sicced some child labor on that. We also harvested some adorable lil' radishes. I'll need a bunch of cilantro later for aloo gobi dinner and it will be nice not to get soaked picking it.
Viva false spring!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Rainy Days

Happy, damp vegetable garden
While the drought proclamations and rationing threats rage on, we're in the middle of an excellent soaking. Last week on the first or second day of a light rain, my kindergartener - a good Californian - asked, "Is the drought over?" Not yet, honey.

But in the meantime, the plants are sooo happy, and so am I because I can put off watering! Except, that is, for my indoor seeds, one of which is chugging along delightfully. I think this is cilantro. I don't know for sure because I didn't think to label them. (This is one reason why my promotion to Upper Gardener keeps getting delayed.) But I am thrilled since I've never grown anything indoor from seed before unless you count the toothpicks-in-a-tuber thing in elementary school. Which actually only ever creeped me out because of the weird alien experiment look to it.