gabriola garden

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring and Gardening for Kids

We’re still experiencing huge rain storms here on Canada’s Wet Coast, but occasionally the sun does make an appearance around this time of year. Along with the crocuses and other bulbs brave enough to emerge out of the soil, auguring Spring. Our bigger than ever "puppy," Cooper, can't wait for the rain to stop, so he can run around with his canine buddies in a nearby school yard.

This is definitely a special time of year, and it is also the time to start your seeds indoors. We have purchased at least four grow light setups, which work with a rudimentary capillary system of hydroponic watering. Placing our seed into starter cubes, then the cubes in coco coir seedling pots, we let the wet pad water them from below.

We usually get our kids involved in the seed starting process. Even though they’re now in their teenage years, they still get a kick out of germinating seeds sending their first sprouts into the world, full of promises for a healthy harvest in the Fall.

Sara is helping them to plant peas, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers of various kinds from seeds, as well as cucumbers and squash. Each of these vegetables should be started at different times, in order to take advantage of the most propitious time to take the seedlings out into the garden. Take the tomatoes or the peppers out too soon, for instance, and they’ll freeze.

A great book that Sara and I would recommend to get your kids involved with gardening is called Kids Gardening—30 Great Gardening Projects for Kids, by Susie Johns, published by Parragon.

Some hardy vegetables can go out right away, and of course the perennial flowers and bulbs are already coming up. If you’re not sticky about organics, you may want to use a time-release fertilizer by Advanced Nutrients, that has to be applied only 3 times a year--Heavy Harvest, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

If, however, you’re strictly an organic gardener, like Sara and I, we would recommend 100%Organic Iguana Juice, Grow and Bloom. You can use it at a quarter or half strength for your seedlings.

Sara is in the middle of building a rock wall around our most important garden beds. The driftwood logs we have been using to contain the soil have rotted over the years, so she has decided that something more permanent is warranted. It’s hard work, but she seems to enjoy doing it. I’m usually too busy to lend a hand, but we have some wonderful neighbors who come over and help out, once in a while.

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posted by Tim at 9:10 AM | 2 comments