Saturday, May 23, 2009

How does that garden grow?

I've been a bit bummed about how we've only covered half of our planned science lessons this year for Jefferson (and Reagan too - although not officially in her K program). It just seems to me that when the weather gets warm, one MUST be outside showing and teaching them the wonders of God's living creation while it blooms instead, right?

So I'm thankful that I've had the time to start our small garden this year as well as add some houseplants to our lives. And I'm super excited about flowers too! It gives me such great joy to watch the kids learn to observe and appreciate the vast varieties as well as the needs of all these plants.

Over the past few weeks (we are in a 3 week break right now - these were our last weeks of the past term) we've watched the garden boxes grow by leaps and bounds under the influence of bountiful rain. Here is ours before (4 weeks after planting):

And here is our most recent (2 weeks ago):

We have discovered that the lettuce varieties we planted, Romaine and Summertime Lettuce, are fast growing, hardy, and NOT bitter. ALL four of my kids will eat an entire bowl full of salad with these leaves! They love to pull and wash the spring onions so we can have them chopped up on top (I've been told to thin out my onions and use some early so that the others will have room to grow nice and large).

One of Jefferson's strawberry plants has 4 berries on it, after showing him some pretty white flowers (I forgot to have him sketch them) and he is hopeful his other one will bloom soon. These were his request and his responsibility and so, will be his harvest as well (albeit, a very small harvest!). And our sweet peas have flowers all over so we are anxious for some produce soon.

The plants we choose to start from seeds, heirloom tomato and sage, are teaching us a lot as well! I have no good indoor lights so we've had them under our kitchen counter lights for the past couple months. They seem to be taking a long, long time to grow. *sigh* I want tomato plants already! Jefferson and I replanted them into larger pots to put outside but only used the plain inert topsoil I had. At Mrs. Weaver's farm today, she told us that we needed to mix that topsoil with some of our manure (well duh? Where did I think this poor little stalk would get it's food? I should've figured that much out myself, but am thankful once again for her help!) and use some Epsom salt at the roots, as well as using fish fertilizer about weekly. She also told us not to put more than one in the pot (I guess I have no good eye for how big this thing is really gonna get!). Jefferson said, "Well maybe it won't look so sad and droopy if we do what she said, Mommy? Her garden looks good...." Thanks, J - I know that you are 7 and you know all about gardens too already.... :-)

But while the poor "droopy" things were still inside, I had Jefferson and Reagan draw both the tomato and the sage seedlings (and their seeds). Reagan (1st drawing) took note of the difference in the shape of the leaves as well as the shape of the main branches while Jefferson was more concerned with learning how to draw the little planter pots in 3-D. Aren't they nice drawings for a 2nd grader and Kindergartner? I was pleased with how much they enjoy this type of work though and need to make sure to incorporate it more often in our weekly assignments (especially since J complains about how hard it is to make them look real!).

Our final sketch (just last week) was of our new Wandering Jew (didn't get them scanned :-(). We were given some clippings from a friend and it was fun to see how fast they grew! Jefferson and Reagan both like how unique this purple, hairy plant is but they each drew different aspects of it - Reagan the purple leaves and Jefferson, the angular branches. Reagan loves how it looks like "God put glitter in the leaves" when we look at them closely in the light and Jefferson just likes the hairs all over it.

All in all, I'd say that I'm learning as much as the kids are and we are totally enjoying this spring! I'm so glad that Lincoln is old enough for me to have time to expose them all to more of God's beautiful springtime this year (even if it doesn't fit the plan I had for science this year!).


sbharnish said...

hey, it looks like you are at least getting plenty of biology in! love wandering jew...i used to grow that before i gave up on house plants. post some pics of your flower bed too!

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

Wowzers, what rain can do!! That's a great looking garden you've got there. I'm sure your kids will LOVE taking care of it and watching the harvest pour in!

We always plant a small garden, usually with tomatoes and strawberries, but we're going with corn this year instead of the tomatoes. I've always heard that it takes about 3 yrs. to get a good strawberry harvest. This is our third year with our plants and we are having a strawberry-palooza around here ;) I really need to post pictures....although our garden looks really shabby compared to yours!

Kathy D.

joyful mama said...

Your garden is beautiful!!! I can tell you guys are really enjoying it!!! Thank God for Anna...:)

Sharon said...

That's a fantastic vegie patch you have going there Andrea!

We went to a friend's house today and caught tadpoles in their ponds, then examined their vegie patch and picked some tasty carrots. I am looking forward to growing more than potted herbs in our own garden soon.

~ Sharon

argsmommy said...

It looks great! We did a little planting over the weekend, but I would love to have a garden like yours.


Angela said...

I lost your link for a while...but you are found again! Great looking garden! I am very impressed. We are trying hard to get some sunshine to get things to grow up here in New England. Fingers crossed!