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In the Garden Together

Posted: December 11, 2014

Fall is a good time to start family gardening; you don’t need a large project to start with. Planting spring blooming bulbs such as crocus, tulips or daffodils in a flower bed or a good size outdoor container is easy and can be a Saturday adventure. Going to a gardening home store or shopping online is informative and fun for children.
Family Gardening Will Ensure a Summer of Learning and Sharing

Family Gardening Will Ensure a Summer of Learning and Sharing

Selecting the types of flowers, their bloom dates, heights, colors and other characteristics goes beyond the red tulip—yellow daffodil ideas.

Gardening activities presents many sharing opportunities, children can create gifts for Mom, grandparents, holidays, school science and community projects. In the vegetable garden something as simple as buying a couple of garlic bulbs from the grocery store, separating them and planting them individually will provide a welcome surprise growing in late spring. Have fun ordering vegetable and flower catalogs, selecting seeds or plants, planning a vegetable or flower garden for spring.

If you are up to starting seeds indoors, purchasing a seed starting system for the family is a great Christmas present. On those cold evenings together pouring over catalogs and looking at photos of colorful flowers and delicious vegetables provides a forecast of the spring ahead. Gardening is a lot about hope and renewal, shared success, quiet moments of the awesomeness of nature and pride in a shared vision.

Keeping a garden journal, recording the layout of the plants from year to year, taking photos, creating a history of a family gardening are great experiences for children. The library is a good place to find books that will help you decide how to get started. You can also go online or take one of our spring classes, usually held in March about gardening.

Wondering what to do now with the kids? Gardening still happens in November and December so here are some things that can involve the whole family!

Continue deep watering of trees and shrubs until freezing weather occurs. Sending them into winter well watered reduces the potential for damaged foliage.

If you are planning on having a live, balled and burlapped Christmas tree, dig a planting hole now before the ground freezes. Fill the hole with straw or hay to keep it from freezing and store the soil where it won’t freeze.

  • Cover strawberries with straw at the end of the November.
  • Prune back roses to 18 inches around Thanksgiving.
  • Continue to collect leaves for compost. To compost, all you need is a location that you can collect leaves, garden debris, grass clippings and raw kitchen waste, like apple and potato peels. Don’t use diseased plants, or weeds that have gone into seed. Keep the pile moist and turn regularly. For more information on composting, call your Penn State Extension Office.
  • Pot paperwhite narcissus bulbs and amaryllis for indoor blooms. Plant them in potting soil, place them in a sunny window, water regularly, and watch them bloom! Be sure to involve the kids – this can be great fun!
  • Before the winter weather comes, be sure to mulch azaleas and other shallow rooted shrubs, as well as perennials.

Gardening with the family will help children grow in confidence, responsibility and creativity. Nothing comes close to witnessing the wonder and pride a young gardener experiences planting, caring for and watching their garden grow and the plus is they will want to cook and eat what they grow.