What fun! An ice cream cone garden! This one is growing a green bean!
Adopt A Guinea Pig Month! Piglets are wonderful first pets. They are affectionate and love attention.
Just do an internet search for guinea pig rescues to find one near you!
Welcome March! Here in southern Indiana, March heralds lengthening days, warm weather, blooming crocus and daffodils. It’s also a time to think about planning gardens and starting seeds. Gardens are, I think, a way to spend constructive time with our kids, digging in the soil while talking of the tasty harvest to come.
As a youngster, I spent every week long spring break with my maternal grandmother on her farm. That time spent tromping through the cow pasture, visiting the small pond ringed with fuzzy cattails, gathering eggs and preparing them for sale to the ‘egg man’ who drove his weekly route picking up fresh eggs and delivering them to local markets.
But perhaps my fondest memory is that of ‘making garden’. Living on a large farm, cleaning and cooking for her husband and six children, not to mention feeding the farmhands two meals a day….left her little leisure time. And my Ma’maw did love to garden! By the time I came along, the farm chores had been taken over by relatives and Ma’maw had her garden time. Which takes us to my yearly spring visits and making garden.
Ma’maw would gather her seeds saved from the previous year’s harvest, grab tools out of the shed and away we would go to her large garden plot. Turning the soil, raking it smooth and with hoe in hand, carefully cut a straight furrow in the soft earth. We planted sweet corn, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, green beans, always finishing with a long row of flowers, zinnias, marigolds and sunflowers. Making garden was the highlight of the week, for both my grandmother and me!
However, one year was unseasonably cold, much too cold to plant seeds. My grandmother was nothing if not determined, she rummaged around and found a huge metal tub, marched to the shed for a shovel and proceeded to fill that old metal tub with cold, wet soil. She then hauled that tub back to the kitchen, turned the oven on full blast and set that container of soil as close as possible to the hot air blasting from the oven. Over the hours, she stirred soil and turned the pan until the dirt was warmed through. Turning with a triumphant look she said, “NOW, we will make garden!” Yes, my Ma’maw was one determined lady!
From some magical cupboard (in my eyes at least), she produced small paper cups that we proceeded to fill with warm soil and then plant our seeds. I remember those moments more than any other, the closeness, the camaraderie, and the special time that was just for us.
All those years ago, I never realized the important lessons learned while gardening with my grandmother. I remember, at my Ma’maw’s direction, counting the correct number of seeds to plant. I remember the feel of the seeds in my small hands….how some were large and round, kidney shaped, smooth or rough. Some seeds were tiny, tiny and difficult to hold on to. I remember the smell and feel of warm soil, my grandma telling how the dirt must be warm for seeds to sprout and they must be watered with access to sunlight in order to grow successfully. We talked about the length of germination time and how some plants are different than others. Talk about the School of Life! It taught me about responsibility, healthy eating, it built self-confidence while teaching me planning skills.
Want to have the same experience with your littles? All it takes is a few easy steps. No worries if you don’t have a large garden plot, container gardening is fun and easy, here’s a list of supplies you will need…..you will need a bag of dirt, seeds and planting containers.
Plant Your Seeds!
Purchase a bag of potting soil. Include the kids in choosing seeds, if your garden will be in containers, choose dwarf varieties of vegetables and flowers. My suggestions for quick sprouting or familiar plants are as follows: tomatoes, green beans, peas, lettuce, radishes and spinach.
Next, get your planting containers prepared. You can use small paper cups or for a fun twist, ice cream cone cups are great starter pots (see photo at left). An added bonus is that, when the time is right, these biodegradable pots can be planted directly into the garden!
Plant your seeds following package directions and setting them in a waterproof tray, set the whole thing in a partially sunny (not hot) spot. I would suggest planting the radishes and lettuce quite thickly as you can begin to harvest when they are quite small and, when thoroughly cleaned, are a peppy addition to salads and sandwiches.
Now the fun begins! The kids will be watching eagerly for the green sprouts to push through the soil and begin to grow. Once the plants are a couple of inches tall, they can be transferred to your garden plot or into a container.
With a little care, you will enjoy the bounty of your garden all summer long. Happy planting!! 'See' you next month!
Jeanna Billings is an Animal Communicator serving an international clientele, a Reiki Master and a Certified Crystal Healer. She volunteered for many years with humane societies and animal rescues, serving as a Board Director, Adoption Counselor and Humane Educator. She currently teaches animal communication classes and provides private consultations. She lives in Indiana with her husband, three dachshunds, two cats and a very chatty parakeet. You can find her online at www.ShamansSpirit.net .