how to make a see-through root garden

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 – Filed under: crafts with kids,gardening ::

Gardening has been a tremendous unschooling scholastic activity this spring and summer (and even late winter, when we began to grow seeds on our windowsill).  From seeds to plants, my little one is harvesting, watering (thanks to a lovely new, long-awaited rain barrel), pruning and savoring all of these plants.

To learn more about how plants take in the nutrients of our compost, and the water from her watering can… we fashioned a see-through root garden with carrot seeds.  It’s still in the process of growing, so I can’t show you final photos, but thought I’d share it when there was still fabulous sunlight to use in creating your own version.

First we cut windows into the top of 2 sides of a coated paper juice container.

Then we cut up a big Ziploc (BPA-free) freezer bag and taped the plastic “windows” securely around the holes in the juice container.

Then we filled it with soil…

Planted some carrot seeds (beets would also work well)…

Watered… and waited :)

The carrots are growing and we’re starting to see the roots through the windows now.

how does your garden grow?

Sunday, June 26, 2011 – Filed under: gardening ::

Maybe it’s the baby boy who stirred the fertile soils in our little raised bed gardens in our tiny backyard… maybe it’s the wonderful alternation of rain and sun…. or good luck… but this year our tiny seedlings have truly blossomed.

We’re still very much learning about gardening and raised beds and growing in tiny spaces, so this is a real boost to our (gardening) confidence.

We have cucumbers coming up, and a bean tepee, and basil aplenty and even an eggplant seedling that is plodding along.

And the best part of family gardening is hanging out in the backyard. A little Jackson Pollock-inspired paint – on the paper, the grass, and the garden rocks. And oohing and ahing over the baby’s little (growing too fast already!) feet. And waiting impatiently for the first raspberries.

Oh, lovely June.

these days….

Monday, June 13, 2011 – Filed under: arts and crafts,beeswax,gardening,Uncategorized ::

Oh my, the little mancub is one month. Already. These days of celebrating this new life are filled with new adventures and experiences, and flashbacks to 4 and a half years ago when we did this sort of thing before (such fuzzy, fuzzy memories those are).

Amidst the laundry (how can such a little guy make exponentially that much more laundry?) and the spit up (now, for the first time, I understand about burp cloths), there’s:

:: rhubarb (especially in crisp form, mixed with the last local organic raspberries and peaches frozen last summer)

:: and the last of our windowsill seedlings to put in the garden (our first squash seedling ever – photo above) that is already rife with zuchini blossoms and tomato flowers and these fabulous cinnamon basil seedlings from Toronto’s (fabulous, rare, organic and heirloom seeds purveyor) Cubits on Etsy

:: quick, intense art sessions tucked in between nursings…. how much can a lioncub eat anyway? isn’t his tummy the size of a pecan, or is it a plum? :) this pop art-ish hand craft is from Laugh, Paint, Create

:: enjoying the last of the spring bulb blooms (thank you, giant cedar hedge, for lengthening our spring flowering time)
:: bedtime baths by beeswax candlelight (such incredible shadows!)

:: the fabulous folks at Milkface (you can order online too) who helped us with a new addition to our sling family, a beautiful black linen Sakura Bloom ring sling and then helped us figure it out (again), thanks to just a little too little sleep around here

:: mister organic honey bear, handmade by YarnMiracle, who is being joyfully attacked and loved at the same time, all the time, especially when the mancub is wearing big sister’s much softened suit :)

Wishing you a fabulous week!

make a 3D spring flower garden (kid-friendly craft)

Right now, my daughter is all about thinking and building in 3D. There’s a fabulous clay studio in Ottawa she goes to once a week, and shapes away, and spends lots of the rest of the time making paper sculptures, and combining wooden blocks and paper… and I guess I feel really fortunate to be able to travel on this ride with her.

Her grandma (and my shop partner) came up with a sweet little idea for a 3D spring craft – building a garden. First she started with a small box. She painted the top green, and used green construction paper glued along the other sides.

Then out came the wooden popsicle sticks, and she painted these green too – for stems.

Next she used various colors of construction paper to cut out flower tops and shapes.

And then Grandma used a pair of scissors to make holes across the top of the box so that the sticks could be arranged in whatever placement was preferred. No glue necessary!! Yay!

She added a little green tent in the middle for the lucky garden inhabitants. Perhaps an elf, or a fairy, or a sweet little insect. It sat for awhile in the light of the sun in our back room, and has now found a comfy home on the (getting-awfully-crowded) spring nature table.

p.s. you can still enter the spring giveaway here

parenting plants

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 – Filed under: gardening,gardens,seeds,spring ::

We planted some seeds (our favorites – cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and basil) by the window to encourage spring to hurry it up a little. When the rain turned to snow for a while a few days back, at least the sweet plants were there to remind us that spring truly was here, if not around the corner. Last year our little raised bed gardens were already planted at this time.  This is a reminder that everything has their own schedule – the seasons, nature, and certainly this little kicking (and hiccuping!) baby.

As she admired the first little seedlings earlier this week, my 4 year old said, concerned “But who are the parents of these plants? Where is the mama for these seeds?”

I chose to keep quiet, as I’m trying to do so much these days, and let her think it through without my strange adult interruptions.

She looked out past the big wooden windows into our backyard, and said “The nature outside must be their parents. Yes, that’s how it works.”


sprouting time

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 – Filed under: gardening,spring ::

It’s so very close – the emergence of the tulips and crocuses, I mean. And the sprouting of this big boy I’ve been carrying around all these months too. Each day seems exponentially warmer, sunnier and more spring like. It happens so fast here in Ottawa. Sometimes if you blink you’ll miss the change of the seasons. It went from about 0 to 20 degrees in a matter of a few days here, it felt like. No complaints from me though. Birthing our son into snow, in late April, just didn’t seem right.

Our little lavendar plant made it through the snow and ice, and our garlic is emerging more every day!

And that stubborn bit of ice is melting more every day.

And it’s never too young to learn to till the soil. Especially in one’s own personal little garden.

Wishing you lots of wonderful spring adventures.

b r u s c h e t t a (and hayfever)

Saturday, August 14, 2010 – Filed under: allergies,appetizer,cooking,gardening,natural health,summer ::

Last night, I made some bruschetta with our dinner, and I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was.

It’s the sort of thing that is only so delicious fresh, with the freshest of ingredients. Luckily, tomatoes and basil is right in our raised bed garden, and garlic was picked not too long ago. I think I might have an all-bruschetta supper tonight. Seriously.

TO make mine, I chopped up some (very) fresh tomatoes, added plenty of ripped basil leaves, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, drizzles of olive oil and baslamic vinegar. And some salt and pepper. Then I left it sit for at least an hour at room temperature.

I didn’t have fresh sourdough on hand, so I used the end of a loaf of kamut bread we had on hand, and broiled the bread with drizzles of the tomato/oil juice at the bottom of the bowl.

When browned, I filled the bread with the tomato mix, and grated some parmesan cheese over top, placing the tray back in the broiler for a minute or 2.

As the tomatoes in garden ripens, the hayfever is maturing too, and my symptoms have started a little too intensely this year. I have neglected my daily regimen of a teaspoon of fall honey (I’ve had it a few times a week). A friend recommended nettle tea infusion. If you have hayfever, how do you manage this time of year?