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Themed Gardens for Kids: Pizza Anyone?

June 7th, 2011

 

Getting kids interested and involved in gardening is not only a great way to spend quality time together, it’s also a fun, adventurous activity for them, and it’s a great educational experience—you never know, you may have some future plant botanists or horticulturalists in your family!

Make gardening with the kids fun by allowing them to help plan the garden from the start. Incorporate a theme that will really get them excited, such as “Pizza Garden,” “Stir-Fry Garden,” or “Peter Rabbit Garden.”

Decide together what you want to plant and how the plants will be arranged in the garden then get in there and grow your own foods. You can also mark a wall calendar with fun, colorful gardening stickers on the days that you and your kids will be tending to the garden; this will give them something to look forward to, and it’s a great way to incorporate routine and responsibility into their lives.

Help your kids make and decorate some whimsical signs for their garden or let them pick out a few garden accessories to place in their garden.

Pizza Garden

A Pizza Garden is as much fun for the adults as it is for kids. Why? Because who doesn’t like pizza? And this themed garden is shaped like a pizza!

Place a stake in the ground, attach a 3 ½ foot piece of string to the stake then mark off a circle, keeping the string tight. Divide circle into six wedges.

In each wedge, plant classic pizza ingredients: 2 to 3 basil plants, 1 to 2 bell pepper plants, onion, 2 to 3 oregano plants, 2 to 3 parsley plants, and 1 tomato plant. If you plant more, you can always transplant them into another area of your yard.

It just doesn’t get any better than homemade pizza made with fresh herbs and vegetables from your own garden.

Stir-Fry Garden

Stir-fry is one healthy meal, and fresh-from-the-garden vegetables make it simply amazing. This is a great dish for experimenting with your favorite food flavors.

Some classic stir-fry ingredients include: bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chives, garlic, green beans, hot peppers, squash, etc.

With stir-frying, foods cook fast so they retain their flavor and texture, and cooking fresh ingredients contain less calories than packaged stir-fry entrées.

Peter Rabbit Garden

Beatrix Potter’s characters are great inspiration for kids to garden, and this theme is a wonderful way to educate kids on nature and animals.

Plant a variety of herbs and vegetables along a border or in raised beds then tuck garden bunny statues in between the plants. Name the statues after The Tale of Peter Rabbit characters: Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, and/or Cottontail. Even though Mother Rabbit forbade her children to enter Mr. McGregor’s garden, your children’s garden can be a cozy home for their sweet garden statues.

Parsley, sage, thyme, bush beans, cabbage, and carrots are perfect for a Peter Rabbit Garden.

Making fun, meaningful, and long-lasting memories with family is so important, and this is an activity your kids will cherish for their whole life.

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Why Every Gardener Needs a Potting Shed

June 2nd, 2011

 

No gardener should be without a potting shed. It one of the most versatile of all gardening accessories, and it can enhance your gardening experience by far more than what you would pay for it. It is a storage area, a greenhouse and a workroom all in one, and yet it takes up relatively little space. It is the perfect place to plant seeds, plan your garden or just relax. Most potting sheds have a potting table, space for larger tools, several large windows, and plenty of shelves for seeds, soil, fertilizer, small gardening tools and young plants.

A potting shed is the ideal place to plant seedlings or move plants to larger pots. Potting is a messy job, and the shed helps to keep the mess out of your house and off of your floors. To clean up afterwards, all you need to do is wipe the table and sweep the dirt out the door. At the same time, the shed provides shade in the summer and shelter from the wind and rain, so it is much better than potting plants outside. In addition, the table in a potting shed is at the perfect height for you to stand while planting instead of bending over and straining your back.

A potting shed also organizes and protects your gardening supplies. It gives you a place to lock up your lawnmower, shovels, hoses and gardening shears so that thieves aren’t tempted by them. It keeps tools out of the weather so that they don’t rust, and it protects larger tools from temperature changes that can ruin them. Most potting sheds have tool racks in them, which makes it easy to find your shovel or rake when you need it. A potting shed is also a great place to store hoses and watering cans in the winter so that they don’t freeze and break.

Another advantage of a potting shed is that it protects your plants. It can be extremely discouraging to work hard at a garden only to have it eaten by animals, and a potting shed prevents this from happening. It also protects delicate young seedlings from wind and extremes of temperature, and it keeps slugs and snails away from them. Not only that, but a potting shed allows you to start your plants much earlier than you would otherwise be able to. The large windows in the shed give your plants plenty of light, and grow lights can be added for additional warmth if needed.

If you need a space to plan your garden, a potting shed is perfect for that as well. It is warm and dry, and it has plenty of space to spread out seed catalogues or sketch out garden plots. It is also quiet and away from distractions, so you can think about your garden or anything else you’d like without being disturbed. If you want, you can leave your seed catalogues lying around in the shed without worrying about other members of the family bothering them. In addition, you can use the wall space in the shed to hang a calendar where you can mark your planting dates or make a weeding schedule.

You can also use your potting shed after your plants have finished growing. If you raise herbs or flowers, you can dry them in the shed. If you grow onions, you can hang them from the ceiling and allow them to dry without getting in your way. You can arrange bouquets, put herbs in jars or store potatoes. In fact, you can even use your shed for things unrelated to gardening: such as crafts, pottery or art. The possibilities with a potting shed are truly endless, and every serious gardener needs one.

This guest post was written by Thomas O’Rourke on behalf of Tiger Sheds – where you can find your very own potting shed. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

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Basic Garden Accessories and Tools to Have on Hand

January 18th, 2011

 

Have you ever driven past a garden that looked postcard pretty? It’s a breathtaking sight to see, with neatly manicured plants and rows that look like they’ve been kissed by Mother Nature. Although Mother Nature does help in making a garden bloom and thrive, it’s also the garden tools that a gardener uses that create an outdoor oasis worthy of admiring and celebrating with outdoor feasts.

Garden accessories and tools are indispensible and easy to come by, whether you buy them at a garden center or flea market. Here are seven basic garden tools every gardener should have on hand:

1. Bow Rake. Bow rakes are used for removing clods of earth or rocks from the soil and leveling the soil after it’s been turned. There are short tines on one side and a flat side on the other—for smoothing the soil just before planting.

2. Garden Gloves. If you garden, you’re going to use your hands at some point. It’s inevitable. Garden gloves help protect your hands from rough weeds, thorns, water, etc.

3. Garden Shears. Also called clippers, garden shears are a gardener’s best friend when it comes to shaping plants and removing branches or dead or overgrown leaves. If you’ve ever dreamed about being a hairdresser trimming your garden plants is a great way to live out that hairdresser fantasy, in a roundabout way! Once you step back to witness your Edward Scissorhands handy work, you’ll feel thoroughly satisfied, as long as you don’t get scissor happy!

4. Hoe. This handy garden tool will help you aerate the surface of your garden by breaking up the soil. Aerating helps reduce soil compaction and allows for deeper root growth. A garden hoe is also an excellent tool for dealing with stubborn weeds.

5. Shovel. Shovels are the I’m-not-messing-around garden tool, ideal for turning large clods of dirt and digging holes, for shrubs and trees.

6. Spading Fork. A spading fork looks similar in shape to a shovel, but it has tines instead of a solid scooper. It’s a great tool for digging down into hard soil to help break up the ground.

7. Watering Can. While you may have a garden hose handy to water your garden, a long-nozzled watering can is a good garden accessory for watering young seedlings. The long nozzle ensures a more gentle flow rate.

While each of these garden tools is fairly inexpensive, you may want to start purchasing one or two a little at a time before the spring gardening seasoning arrives. If you’re planning on container gardening, you may want to consider smaller garden accessories and tools, like our 7-Piece Humble Garden Tool Tote.

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