Plan and Plant a Learning Garden



Wow! The world is changing so fast these days and so many are finding themselves home looking for fulfilling things to do. You could clean out your closets, but a more exciting thing to do is to plant a garden. Even if you already have a garden, you could put a new spin on it, especially with the kids at home.

Selecting seeds. A garden can be a great teaching/learning experience. You can browse the seed catalogs or seed company websites to decide what to plant. Be sure to note if what you want to grow is suitable for your area. Also take notice of when the best time to plant is and if you will be putting seeds or transplants in the ground. You’ll have to decide how many seeds or plants to order.

Grow a pizza garden. You could plan and plant a themed garden, such as a pizza garden where you grow as much of the ingredients as you can for pizza. Since you use the same sauce for pizza as spaghetti, you’ve planned more than one type of meal. As long as you are growing so many tomatoes, you might as well make tomato soup and can it. Ingredients to grow for these dishes would include tomatoes, of course, and peppers, onions, parsley, oregano, basil, and whatever else you want to include. You will have to wait until the fall to plant garlic.

Gardening science project. Let your kids take part in this. They can explore recipes, ingredients, seeds, feeding the soil with organic amendments, when to plant and when to harvest, etc. In the process they will be have studied science, social studies, math, and reading, plus they would have used technology in the process. Physical education would take place digging and maintaining the garden. Double digging is a great experience because you discover the soil layers (see photo). Maybe they can research how planting times have changed over the years. They might start a phenology journal to record the times when things bloom, birds return, and so on, that signal changes in the seasons. Many things are triggered by day length and soil temperature.

Culinary arts should be a mandatory subject for kids out of school right now. They can help with the meals, opening up so many topics of conversation about the source of their ingredients and the source of their recipes. You could post a map of the country and mark where each thing comes from. You might need a world map. That exercise alone might drive home the necessity of growing your own ingredients, or at least, sourcing them closer to home.

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