March 2016

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Gardening With Children

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GARDENING WITH CHILDREN

GardeningWithChildren

By gardening with your children or grandchildren, you can help give them an awareness and appreciation of nature and the world around them that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Even very young children enjoy helping with simple garden chores such as weeding, spreading mulch and harvesting. Older children love to have their own special garden to look after. This could be as small as several containers on the deck or as big as your whole yard, depending on their (and your) time, willingness and patience. To start out, you might give them a section of your garden to plant and look after.

First, be sure to teach your budding gardener the value of improving the soil with organic material before they begin planting. Explain how organic material improves the texture of the soil and adds some food for the plants as well.

Since improving the soil will make them more successful, they’ll be willing to garden again next spring. There are special kid’s tools available, just right for small hands to manipulate and since children love getting dirty, you’ll not be short of volunteers when the digging begins!

Next, help your child select a combination of plants that will make their garden interesting and exciting throughout the year. You can do this by considering all five senses:

Sight

Many colorful blooming   plants, as well as plants with unusual flowers or seeds will appeal to a child’s imagination. Consider smiling pansy faces and nodding  columbines in the spring; snapdragons to snap and silver coins from the money plant (Lunaria biennis) in summer; and in the fall, blue balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflora) and the bright orange seed cases of Chinese lantern (Physalis franchettii).

Touch

Stroke the silky-soft, silver leaves of lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) – now you’ll know how it got its name. Or, feel the papery flowers of thrift (Armeria maritima) or strawflowers, the ferny foliage of yarrow or the succulent foliage of sedum.

Taste

Growing vegetables is always fun and rewarding for children. If you have the space, it’s always exciting to grow pumpkins for Halloween or weird and wonderful gourds. Other easy to grow vegetables include radishes, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes. At harvest time let your child host a ‘salad party’ to share their bounty with family and friends.

Smell

There are many scented flowers to choose from, including perennial peonies and lilies, as well as annual sweet alyssum and heliotrope. Let them select herbs with fragrant foliage too. Mint is always popular but be sure to allow room for it to spread. Choose varieties with interesting names like chocolate, apple or grapefruit. Use the pineapple flavored leaves of pineapple sage in iced tea and watch the hummingbirds gather around this herb’s bright red flowers!

Sound

The whirring of hummingbird wings, the song of a bird, the rustling of foliage or flowers in a breeze; these are all sounds that you and your child can share in a garden. Take time out from your gardening chores every now and then to listen.

So, bring in your child and let us help you get started on that most special garden of all, a child’s garden.

 Fifth graders look on with curiosity as Daniel’s Garden Center tills our ground for a huge expansion of the Salford Hills fruit & vegetable garden.

Fifth graders look on with curiosity as Daniel’s Garden Center tills our ground for a huge expansion of the Salford Hills fruit & vegetable garden.

Salford Hills Elementary Students watch as topsoil is mixed in with the freshly tilled ground to provide a welcoming bed for our new 50x50ft. vegetable patch.

Salford Hills Elementary Students watch as topsoil is mixed in with the freshly tilled ground to provide a welcoming bed for our new 50x50ft. vegetable patch.

Easter Flowers That Are Perfect For Your Sunday Table Centerpiece

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Easter flowers bring beauty and meaning to the Easter holiday. Many colorful varieties are used worldwide for gift giving, decorations and church services in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Christianity and in celebration of spring and rebirth.

Lily

The white lily is considered the primary traditional Easter flower. It is originally from Japan. Americans started growing the Easter lily during World War II. The flower represents the purity and renewal of Easter. The shape of the flower petals are said to be the trumpet of God calling Jesus to return.

Lily

Daffodils

Daffodils are bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that symbolize friendship, rebirth and eternal life. According to legend, the daffodil first appeared in the Garden of Gethsemane and it bloomed during the time of Christ’s resurrection. Daffodils are called Osterglocken (Easter bells) in Germany and are the favored flower for Easter decorations in England, where they are nicknamed Lent lilies.

Daffodils

Tulips

Tulips are the third most popular spring flower worldwide. While it does not actually have a specific meaning for Easter except for wild tulips in the Middle East, it does represent the rebirth of spring and perfect love. An interesting odd fact about the tulip states that the bulbs can be used instead of onions in cooking.

Tulip

Narcissus

The narcissus was the first flower associated with Easter in parts of Europe. People in the Alps have valued the flower to symbolize Easter for centuries. It is the most popular flower in Germany.

Narcissus

Pussy Willows

Pussy willows are not a common Easter flower because the blooms of a pussy willow are not always present at Easter. They do, however, play a part in the Easter traditions of Russia, England and Finland. Since palms for Palm Sunday, the week before Easter, are hard to obtain in some areas, pussy willows may be substituted for palms in Easter celebrations.

Pussy Willows

NURTURING SPRING BULBS

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Spring bulbs faithfully reappear at the most advantageous time – after a long, cold winter. Most spring bulbs are perennial and multiply in number every year. Seemingly carefree, bulbs do require a bit of nurturing ensuring that they perform their very best for years to come.

  1. Good soil drainage is important to prevent bulbs from rotting so plan your site accordingly.bulbs-4
  2. When planting bulbs in the fall, add a high phosphorus fertilizer to the planting hole for the development strong roots.
  3. Bulb foliage will often break through the soil after a few warm winter days. This vegetation is hardy and its exposure to the cold will not damage your plants or prevent them from blooming.
  4. Fertilize bulbs as plants are emerging from the ground. Do not fertilize once flowers appear. Use a 5-10-5 granular fertilizer to assist in foliage and flower development.
  5. After blooming, cut back the flower stalk. This will force the plant to put its energy into the bulb for next year’s flowers and not into seed production.
  6. Allow the leaves to die back naturally. The leaves are vital for producing food that is stored in the bulb for next year’s growth. Cut leaves; never pull, once they have turned yellow. Do not tie leaves as this reduces the leaf surface required for adequate food production.
  7. When the foliage dies back the bulb is dormant, this is the proper time to dig and separate bulbs if necessary. Flowering will often be reduced when bulb beds become over-crowded. If division is needed, bulbs should be dug and stored in a well-ventilated place and replanted in the fall.
  8. Fertilize bulbs again in the fall with a high-phosphorus, granular fertilizer.

 

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