Gardening & YOU: Gardening with Kids – Growing Vegetables Indoors

 

Gardening with Kids – Growing Vegetables Indoors

 

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It’s May, and this ol’ cook’s thoughts wander outside with yearnings for fresh organic veggies for our kitchen.

Time to get in the garden, eh?

Gardening is a lifetime love.

My father, born on a family farm, taught me.  I’ve been doing it as far back as I can remember.  I mean age 4 or younger.  Carrying soil in a little wooden wheelbarrow Dad had made for me.  My first crop, of course, was radishes.  You can’t fail with radishes.

And these many decades later, we’re still putting in a few crops.  Potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, pole beans, bush peas, cucumbers, parsnips, carrots…  Even in our deck flower boxes, which now grow organic vegetables.

Once you’ve got the gardening bug, you never lose it.  And our kids?  Yup.  We passed the bug onto them.

And when Winter shakes out its blankets of snow, we don’t give up our passion for organic food.  We grow it indoors.  And there are the Greenhouses, so easily built.

Here, giving us two excellent looks at those very subjects, is a guest blog from award-wining writer Stacy Pessoney:

Gardening With Kids.

Spring is here and outside everything is greening…

Gardening with children can be so fulfilling, for you and for them. Whether you are a teacher, a friend or a parent, you can enjoy some real quality time with the children that you care for.

There are a few ways to make it fun for them. Remember to have fun, encourage silliness and be open to the children’s ideas. Kids really enjoy getting outside with adults and creating something. Try to include things in the garden that the kids will really enjoy.

Have them set up hummingbird feeders, spinning wind catchers, wind chimes, and make vegetable markers or signs. The more colorful and personal they make it, the more they will love it.

Using hummingbird feeders, spinners and chimes will help give the kids some instant gratification. It’s a lot more interesting than simply putting a seed in the dirt and walking away! Set up a craft table in advance and let the kids decorate and design whatever they can think of to stick in the garden. They can use construction paper, index cards, glue, glitter, beads and even seeds to decorate signs. Use some laminating paper or dip in melted paraffin wax to waterproof signs.

Sprouting seeds indoors is fun for kids and lets them see how roots grow towards the water and how leaves open up towards the sun. Simply placing seeds on a wet paper towel and putting them into a sandwich bag will make them sprout rather quickly. Then they can be placed in the dirt and have a better chance of survival than if you had only placed the seeds in the soil.

Kids love the idea of introducing beneficial insects, butterflies, frogs and lizards into the garden. Do a little research about your area and find out which insects are beneficial. Your local nursery can usually provide you with useful information on which insects to introduce and where to get them.

Using living creatures to protect the vegetables from invaders is not only fun, but beneficial. Teaching children how to garden organically will not only help them to ingest and absorb less chemicals now, but as they grow and plant their own gardens in the future. Organic gardening is more fun, safer and better for their health.

The fun isn’t over when the garden is planted. Kids love to catch bugs and worms and then introduce them into the garden. They can learn about recycling and composting while adding beneficial compost to their garden soil.

It will get richer by the year if you avoid chemical fertilizers. Let them water with interesting containers or spray nozzles for the water hose.  One with forward assist and automatic hose retrieval makes it easy for even very young children to feel important and participate in the family fun.

Happy gardening!

 

 

Growing Vegetables Indoors.

Summer is ending and our gardens are wilting…

The season of fresh vegetables just goes by too fast. It is time to grind up those stalks and cover the garden with hay for composting. But does this really mean that we are done eating fresh vegetables until next June? Not really! You can grow vegetables indoors using these tips.

There are two ways to start your indoor vegetable garden.

One, you can transfer your existing plants from outdoor to indoor pots.

Two, you can sprout seeds and plant them. [1]

Some plants, like tomato plants, normally need to be staked. But, if you hang a planter for your tomatoes, you don’t necessarily have to stake them. The stalks can simply hang down like vines.

Choose large pots that drain really well. Place rocks in the bottom of each container, then potting soil or top soil mixed with plenty of compost. If your summer garden did well outside, you can use the soil from there to fill your pots. Although, sometimes this soil is depleted of nutrients and should be replenished with compost.

All of your indoor vegetables need to have plenty of sunlight and heat. If possible, put them near a heater vent. They must get as much sunlight as possible, so all plants need to be near a window. You might even consider placing planters in buckets attached to an accordion divider so that all of them have equal sun.

You can even move the whole apparatus from one window in the morning to another full sun window in the afternoon. Putting your accordion divider on casters will make the move easier on your back. The vertical garden also eliminates the need to bend over to tend to and harvest vegetables.

Another back saving tip is to roll your vertical garden outside to water. If it’s not too cold, you can roll it out onto the deck or patio and spray it down with the water hose.

As the days get shorter, you will have to use a UV lamp to give your vegetables enough light to grow. If you notice your plants doing poorly, increase the amount of heat and/or sun that they are getting every day.

Make sure that you are not over-watering, and that you are pruning off any dead or dying sections that may be stealing nutrients from your healthy vegetables.

Having an indoor vegetable garden can be a challenge and can take up a lot of space. But, if you tend to it carefully, you could be rewarded with fresh vegetables year round.

And you can always take the next step: build a low-cost small greenhouse.

==>> Need MORE Up-To-Date Info on Home Gardening?  Go Now To  Organic Gardening In Your Backyard – Fun, Healthy, & Easier Than You Think!

 

[1] About Greenhouse Seeds: You may have heard that you need special seeds for indoor gardening.  Nope!  The phrase “greenhouse seeds” usually refers to cannabis.

About the author: Stacy Pessoney studied advertising, marketing and communications at the University of Alabama with a minor in dance.  Stacy has garnered numerous awards for her essays, articles and short stories. She is well versed in various topics, including gardening, hose reel, lawn care and landscaping.  In her spare time, she loves hiking, kayaking, fishing, photography and exploring the outdoors with her family.

“Herb gardens can be therapeutic, fragrant, beautiful and delicious. Planting an herb garden is easy and fun. You can grow it indoors or out. Even starting from seed, you can start to harvest your own fresh herbs within about a month.” – Stacy Pessoney

 

Gardening & YOU: Gardening with Kids – Growing Vegetables Indoors

Keywords: greenhouse seeds, organic food, organic gardening, organic vegetables, recipes, small greenhouse

About Brian Alan Burhoe

A Graduate of the Holland College Culinary Course, Brian Alan Burhoe has cooked in Atlantic Coast restaurants and institutional kitchens for over 30 years. He is a member of the Canadian Culinary Federation. Brian's articles reflect his interests in food service, Canadian history, imaginative literature, wildlife writing, animal rights, wilderness preservation and our best friends -- our dogs. See his CIVILIZED BEARS!
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