Tips To Help Save The Planet

earth day

 

April 22, 2016 is Earth Day.  Many people think it’s the big sweeping changes that will make an impact on the environment.  However, it’s really the little things that matter. When millions of people participate, they add up fast. When you are planning your garden for this season, think about these easy tips.  You too can use them to help to save the planet.  They are by the landscaping experts at RubberMulch.  Every small action is part of the engine of positive environmental change!  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips.

Collect rainwater to help keep the garden green, even during a drought

A rain barrel will collect excess rainwater.  Something that can both protect and enhance your garden. It will help prevent flooding in low lying parts of the garden.  Additionally,  it will allow you to water your plants and flowers, guilt free, and with no impact to your water bill. Even during a drought, you can maintain your garden’s fresh and beautiful look. Tip –  Install a screen on the top of the barrel to keep pests and bugs out!

Bring on the Good Bugs!

There are several varieties of insects that are good for your garden.  You can encourage them to pay your plants and flowers a visit.  For example, ladybugs and lacewing flies love two things brightly colored flowers.  They also like sunflowers, marigolds  and plant destroying aphids. The former attracts the ladybugs and flies and the latter becomes their lunch!

So, how do you encourage the good bugs to visit your your garden? Plant colorful flowers. They’ll see them like a botanical drive-thru window.

Do you like a little Irish Spring in the shower?

Buy two bars of Irish Spring soap. When you’re in the garden, shave a little of the first bar around your perennial plants and flowers.  Small, furry critters don’t care for it. It’s an inexpensive deterrent that smells a whole lot better than many of the products sold at the garden center.

When you’re done all your gardening efforts for the put it to good use on yourself. Its win-win!

Cornbread anyone?

If you’re partial to using corn meal gluten in your kitchen, you might want to use some in your garden. To keep weed  from germinating and growing into full fledged plants, sprinkle some corn meal around your flowers. The gluten will prevent any seed from germinating.  However, avoid it in your vegetable patch or nary a tomato will you grow.

Do you already have some weeds growing? A pinch of salt at the base of weed will kill it naturally.  Also, snails and slugs are slimy but oddly, they don’t care for man made slime!  As a result, spread some petroleum jelly on the edges of your pots and planters.  It will save your plants from becoming an all-a-snail-can-eat buffet.

Reuse milk jugs and plastic bottles

We all have too many of them in the house.  However, most can be recycled.   But you can also put a few of them to good use in the garden. You can keep your early spring seedlings safe from sudden frosts or other harsh weather.  Cut  the bottom from the jug or bottles and placing them over top of the seedling. This will protect them from threats of spring frost or hail. Just don’t forget to remove them when the good weather arrives.  The plants can benefit from the full and healthful effects of sun and rain!

Mulch much?

Mulching is so important for your garden! It protects plants from pests and weeds.  And it helps the plants retain moisture and the necessary minerals from the earth. Mulch helps cut down on the time and energy you spend maintaining the garden and plant beds. Take it to another level by using a sustainable and long lasting Rubber Mulch. They are made from recycled rubber tires. You can’t get more friendly to your garden and the earth than that!

Epsom salts for the garden?

Did you know that Epsom salt is a perfect natural fertilizer? They will help keep your garden plants green, your flowers grow in abundance and balance the levels of magnesium in your soil.  An important mineral for your garden’s happiness. And then you can put some in your hot bath and relax those tired muscles after a day of tending to your beautiful garden!

Coffee grounds and eggshells are compost gold!

Who knew being addicted to coffee could end up being good for the garden? Coffee grounds that are placed in the earth or the compost, to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, can do a lot of good. The grounds provide phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper, all of which your soil needs.  They will release nitrogen into the soil.  Nitrogen is another essential compound for a healthy garden.  Sprinkle some as mulch at the base of your hydrangea plants and your pink flowers will turn blue as the grounds alter the PH levels of the soil!

Eggshells are good for your garden too:

1.     Eggshells are composed of 96% calcium carbonate so they can give your compost that hit of calcium it needs. Pepper and tomato plants love calcium!

2.     Crushed eggshells are sharp! Sprinkle some around your plants to deter pests like slugs and snails from munching on your growing garden.

These tips are things that we can all do to help our gardens grow and our earth to sustain itself.

Rubber Mulch, available at RubberMulch.com is the original and environmentally responsible mulch made from 100% recycled rubber used in gardens, playgrounds and sustainable landscaping. Rubber Mulch is weather resistant, durable, and the most cost effective mulch around. It is designed to protect children from falls on the playground. Rubber Mulch helps homeowners increase the curb appeal of their house and create the home and garden they have always dreamed of.

5 Amazing Gifts From Your Garden

 

garden gift ideas, gifts for gardeners

 

First, did you know that you make amazing gifts from your flower and/or kitchen garden?  Second, family and friends appreciate homemade and handmade gifts.  Making gifts has become the norm in my house.  I know my family and friends appreciate them and I save money by not having to purchase retail.  Check out my other gardening tips too.

Next, when I’m planning my summer and fall gardens, I always add extra flowers and gourds to ensure that I have enough for myself, family and friends. Here’s a list of my favorite garden items for gift giving and uses:

Dried Flowers Plant plenty of roses, herbs, Hydrangeas, coneflowers, and wildflowers. Anything that can be used in crafts, to make potpourri, or sachets bags.

Pressed Flowers Pansies, daisies, violets, ferns, roses, daffodils, cosmos, poppies, gladiolus, and verbenas make great pressed flowers. They are beautiful on cards, bookmarkers and in crafts. Additionally, make sure the colors are bright and vibrant when you pick them.  Most importantly, they should also be dry when you pick them.

Dried and Fresh Herbs – Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Marjoram make the best dried herbs.  Find a cute decorative jar, pint size jelly canning jars, put a decorative label on with the name of the herb, and tie a pretty ribbon.  Grow fresh herbs in Mason Jars, tin buckets, chalk painted clay bowls, tea cups or anything imaginative. Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, and Chives make great gifts.

Gourd Birdhouses Grow bottle gourds and make decorative birdhouses for family and friends. You can paint sunflowers on them, paint them in your family and/or friends favorite colors. Be creative.  These make the perfect house for Purple Martins, Red-headed Woodpecker, Bluebirds, Tufted titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, and Northern Flicker.

Sunflowers Last, sunflowers make beautiful flower arranges.  Cut a few and place them in a mason jar, tall metal vase, a boot and any other creative container.  You can also dry them for floral arrangements and use the seeds to roast or feed the birds. Squirrels love to eat the sunflower heads.

Finally, get your children involved in planting flowers and gourds. They will love painting and turning them into birdhouses.  Also, they can also remove the seeds from the sunflowers and roast them or save the seed to feed the birds during the winter months.  As a result, make sure you plant plenty of everything.  You’ll want items for garden gift ideas and you will want to keep a few items for yourself.

You may also Holiday Gift Ideas for Bird Lovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Versus Hard Kitchen Garden Herbs

 

kitchen garden herbs, herbs, herb varities

 

First, are you interested in growing kitchen garden herbs?  Before you plant or purchase, know the difference between soft and hard herbs.  Also know their uses.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.  Here’s a few tips on the difference:

Soft herbs are leafy, tender and best used fresh.  Fresh herbs enhance the flavor and appearance of dishes. Soft herbs can be used in sauces, salads, potatoes, and greatly enhance the taste, appearance and nutritional value of the food. Here’s a list of soft herbs:

  • Basil (Sweet, Spicy, Genovese, Lemon, Lime, Cinnamon, Dark Opal and Thai to name a few).
  • Parsley – (Curly or Flat)
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Fennel
  • Chives
  • Mint

Hard herbs are considered more flavorful than soft herbs.  Additionally, these herbs are added to dishes that require long, slow cooking, such as soups, stews, casseroles and roasts.  Hard herbs are removed before serving the dish.  Here are a few herbs that fall into this category:

  • Rosemary 
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Bay Leaves
  • Sage
  • Mint (Chocolate, Orange, Strawberry,  Julep)

Most importantly, if you are planting mint remember that it is invasive.  So, I recommend that you plant this herb in a container to keep it from spreading. You should know, dill is know to reseed year after year.  So, be selective on where you plant it as well.  Additionally, you can plant various herbs in mason jars or small containers for use during the winter.  Find a few small pots, and place them in your window sill.

Another idea, use fresh basil, oregano, sage and rosemary in the winter from your window sill plants.  As a result, use them when cooking soups, stews, casseroles and roasts.  Also, herbs are perfect in these dishes.  I freeze and dry my basil and parsley.

Last, if you have limited space decide which herbs you will most likely use.  In conclusion, plant plenty and preserve them for later use. Also, herbs can be dried.  What herbs do you use most?  These are the herbs you should grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Winter Sow Seed List

vegetable garden, vegetable seeds, gardening, canning

 

Are you wondering what seeds you can winter sow?  You’ve come to the right place. So, stay awhile and check out my winter sow seed list.  I started my winter sowing last week, and I thought I would share my list of flower and vegetable seeds.  They are currently sitting on my decking waiting for the perfect opportunity to germinate.  My list is not all inclusive, I’m sure there are many others.  However, I live in zone 6B.  So I select plants that will grow in my zoneSome plants do well in some zones, but not in others.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.

Because I have a short growing season, it’s important that I give my plants a head start in the garden.  As a result, I start my seeds early so I plant out by Mother’s Day at the earliest and Memorial Day at the latest.  By mid-June my garden is fully planted.  I water and nurture the plants so they can establish a good root system.

I’ve been successful with some seeds and not so much with others.  I love the thrill of seeing what emerges each year and watching the plants produce.  Here’s my winter sow list:

  • Spicy Globe Basil
  • Genovese Basil
  • Greek Oregano
  • Italian Oregano
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Collard Greens
  • Lettuce – Salad Bowl, Romaine,  Butter Crunch, Black Seeded Simpson
  • Spinach – Noble
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

Also, the following tomatoes found a place on my list to germinate inside this year:  Roma, Amish Paste, San Marzano, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Hillbilly, Yellow and Pink Brandywine, Tiffin Mennonite, Mortgage Lifter, German Johnson, Paul Robeson, Early Girl, and White Wonder tomatoes inside.

Unfortunately, not all of them will germinate successfully.  As a result, germinate enough seeds to ensure you produce enough plants for the garden. There have been times when I have attempted to sow a variety a second time if it doesn’t germinate.  So, allow enough time for this step if you want a certain variety.  Additionally, I sowed belle, cayenne, and jalapeno peppers.  Stay tuned, I’ll be posting updates on the germination journey.

Finally, I hope my winter sow seed list has helped you decide what seeds you will be winter sowing or sowing inside.  Again, it is not all inclusive and you will need to check your zone to ensure your seeds are compatible.  In conclusion, I suggest that you order a few catalogues to browse through the winter and make a decision based on your research.  I love looking at the catalogues and checking out the new varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and more.  Stay tuned for future gardening posts.

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Should Winter Sow Seeds

 

winter sow seeds

 

I started my winter sowing this week-end, and I started about 25 tomato plants indoors.  I’m hoping to get my garden in early this year and possibly get some plants in the garden twice.  I’ve found that I’ve just about depleted my stash of canned tomatoes, sauce, corn, green beans, peppers and herbs.

Also, I may expand my garden this year.  My grandchildren love my tomato sauce and my sister and daughter enjoy the fresh vegetables as well.  After taking inventory, I realized that I needed to replenish my stock.  So, I’m going to winter sow some vegetable seeds and plant others under the grow lights for my garden.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.

Continuing, if you don’t winter sow you should.  Here’s a few good reasons why you try it:

1. Cost Effective –  Winter sowing can be done cheaply.  For example, plastic containers, duct tape, a utility knife, seed starting mix and outdoor space is basically all you need.  A single plant at a garden center will cost $2.00  –  $4.00Things can get expensive if you’re trying to plant a garden to feed a family over the winter at that price.  

2.  Saves Indoor Space Indoor germination requires space.  Once the seedlings germinate they require a warm space with proper lighting.  Many gardeners don’t have space inside their homes for this endeavor.  As a result, they resort to direct sowing in the garden or purchasing expensive plants at the garden center.  Furthermore, you can use your deck, shrubbery beds, backyard tables, backyard benches, your garden, the options are limitless.  I don’t recommend concrete areas unless you have a bedding of straw.  Your plants won’t appreciate a cold bottom from the concrete.

3.  Nature Does The Work Once you place your containers outdoors, you let nature take its course.  The rain, snow, light and moderation of the temperature will help germinate the seed and cause the plant to grow at the right time.  Once spring arrives, you will have to take the top off the plants and give them water, separate or thin them and prepare them for spring/summer planting. How easy is that!

4.  Doesn’t Require A Light System Nature will provide all the light that your plants will need when you use the winter sowing method.  Indoor sowing requires grow lights or some type of fluorescent lighting system.  I have an indoor system and it works great; however, if you have to spend money to set up a system why not go the free route.

5. Doesn’t Require Hardening Off The rigid, mild, and warm temperatures prepare seedlings for movement to the garden.  When you sow seeds indoors you will have to get your plants adjusted to being outside. This requires you to harden off your plants.  Gradually expose your plants to shade, sun and nights before transplanting them in the garden will be necessary.

Once I complete my outdoor sowing, I will be posting a list of seeds you can outdoor sow successfully too.  Start gathering your jugs and containers, you will have plenty of time to start your winter sowing too.  You may also like My Winter Sow Seed List.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Uses For Sunflowers

sunflowers

 

First, I love the strength, grace and beauty of sunflowers.  They’re one of my favorite summer flowers and a must in my garden.  I love sunflowers because they stand tall, erect and they’re showy.  They tower above everything else in the garden, and their bright color makes an impact.  Furthermore, there are different varieties to grace your garden and they all grow to various heights.  This particular variety is the Russian Mammoth.  It usually grows to about 10 or 11 feet.  The fence in the background is 6 foot.   It is truly massive.  Can you see a bee enjoying the pollen on this particular sunflower.  Today, I’m going to share a few gardening tips on uses for sunflowers.

It is true that sunflowers make a statement.  But did you know that every part of the sunflower is beneficial? They are actually considered the cash crop.  The seeds, petals, stalk, leaves and roots can be used in various ways.  Here are a few examples:

1.  Seeds – Humans eat the seeds raw, roasted or dried. Therefore, they are a healthy snack and a great source of protein, Vitamins A, B, E and iron.  I love the seeds raw in salads or roasted to snack on.

2.  Commercial Use – Birdseed mixtures often contain sunflower seeds.  Furthermore, I actually leave the majority of my sunflowers in the garden for the cardinals and finches to enjoy.  You will find black oil sunflower seeds in my bird feeders during the winter.

3.  Petals – Additionally, sunflower petals can be dried.   and used along with other natural items for summer or fall potpourris.

Mammoth Sunflowers, sunflower variety, how to grow sunflowers


   4.  Leaves – Another use is the leaves.  Also, sunflowers leaves can grow quite large and tasty.  Sunflowers leaves are often used to feed livestock or seeped to make tea.

5.  Stalks – Noteworthy, the stalks of sunflowers are strong.  I actually use some of my sunflowers stalks as a trellis for my cucumbers.  Consequently, you can cut the sunflowers off at the base and allow the stalks to dry over the winter. Next season you have a great source of poles to use as a trellis for your veggies.  You can also break them in sections, dry them, and use them in fire pits or wood stoves over the winter.

6.  Roots – Next, the roots of a sunflower can grow quite deep and large.  As a result, tten used to make herbal medicine.

7.  Dried Flowers – Sunflowers can be dried and used in floral arrangements.  They are quite pretty in fall arrangements or on wreaths.  Some of the best flowers for dried arrangements are those that are just opening.  So, pick sunflowers before are they fully open.  They will continue to open as they dry.

Finally, you may also like:  How Make Bottle Greenhouses   As a matter of fact, this is how I start my sunflower seeds.

7 Easy to Grow Indoor Houseplants

 

First, it’s hard to admit this, but I am terrible at growing indoor houseplants.  The list of greens that have met their doom under my thumb is rather extensive.  The knowledge of my innate ability to either drown a flower or deprive it of necessary nutrients is a subject of shame.  Especially, when I look my mother-in-law’s garden, which is full of blooms worthy of Eden.
Furthermore, this admission has driven my husband to find me houseplants that are nearly impossible to kill. I believe the tags on these hardy specimens  even say that they are plants of steel.
Needless to say, not everyone is born with a glowing  thumb of green. In fact, many like me are born with a special talent for destroying beauty.  Also, there have been a few lucky houseplants that have survived. It’s these that I highly recommend.  I also recommend them for all of the benefits – like added color to the interior and improved air quality.
 
1.  Ponytail  Palm – This  mini-tree houses a head of long green leaves that are arranged in a way that is reminiscent of elementary school pigtails.  It is easy to care for with  just a cup of water a week.  I think I can handle that – it can grow up to 3  feet tall.
2.   Aloe Vera – Both attractive and  functional, aloe vera is a modern-looking plant with incredible healing properties. Break off one of the shoots and apply the ooze inside to sunburns  for instant relief.
3.  Autograph  Plant – This is by  far one of the coolest indoor plant options. The Clusia rosea is known as the  autograph tree.  The plant’s leaves act as the perfect host for keeping special memories. Simply sketch in your name or draw a picture and it stays  there forever – or at least as long as you keep it alive.
4.   Peace Lily – A perfect plant if you’re fighting a lot. Really,  though, there are few better plants that help clear the air. Known for its great oxidizing attributes, the peace lily – with its white-flag flower – is exceptionally easy to grow and does well in low-lit areas.
5.   Spider Plant – Noteworthy, and another no-fail green. This plant is available in variegated shades as well as monochromatic green.  It has shoots of leaves that spit out from the base like the legs of a spider. 
6.   Pothos – My parents were given one of these as a housewarming gift, and it flourished  under their care, which is somewhat of a miracle considering the horticultural thumb of death runs in my family. Seriously, though: You can start with a small pot of pothos, and before you know it, a blazing trail of green starts to take over.
7.   English Ivy – This is the perfect choice for ridding your home of  litter air. English  Ivy can help break down and reduce the amount of fecal matter in the air left  behind by your beloved furballs. It is, however, toxic to animals and kids; so keep it out of their reach.
Last, try out these seven indoor houseplant options, and may the Gods shine upon them – and your thumb – with favor.  Before you leave, check out other gardening tips on Mother 2 Mother.

 

BIO: Ali is a “Jill of all trades.” She writes about  gardening, home advice and healthy living on her blog Homey Improvements and is a  princess for hire at kids’ parties. Follow her on Twitter @DIYfolks.

Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes & Their Characteristics

heirloom tomatoes


I’m craving fresh vegetables from the garden, especially my favorite heirloom tomatoes.  First, I have my tomato plants under the grow lights, and hopefully I will be tilling the garden in a few weeks. I believe the last frost date in Zone 6B is around May 15.  Heirloom tomatoes take up much of the space in my garden. Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

Why?  Because they have a totally different taste from store brought tomatoes and hybrid tomatoes. It’s hard to describe the flavor of a tomato, it must be experienced. I’m a visual person, so I thought you would like to see the end result of what is being planted in my garden.  Additionally, learn a few characteristics of my favorite tomatoes.  Also, I hope this information will help you make a decision on what tomatoes you want to purchase before you buy from your local garden center.

Before you select your tomato plants, decide how you want to use your tomatoes.  Do you want to use them for sandwiches slices, make sauce, paste or salsa.  Or do you want to use them in salads?  Will you canning them?  I love slicing tomatoes in the summer and just eating them with a little mayo and pepper. Yum! I also make salsa, sauce, freeze them and can my harvest, so I need a variety in my garden.

Here’s a few of my favorite tomatoes.  Lets start with the tomatoes in the picture below:

1. Brandywine Pink (back)  – First, I like this tomato for its color and taste. How often do you see a pink tomato? The Brandywine Pink has a sweet taste, so I use it on sandwiches and as my go to when I want my sliced tomatoes with mayo. I also cut these in cubes for salads and tacos. I grow the Brandywine Red and Brandywine Yellow as well.

2. Hillybilly (center) –  Next, the Hillbilly originated in my home state West Virginia. The color is a mix of yellow and red. It is delicious and has a sweet taste. It slices beautifully. I also add it to fresh salsa or salads.

3. Yellow Beefsteak (center left) –  So, I like the size of this tomato. It’s great for slicing.  The tomato is large and it’s great for thick slices.  Also, I add it to salads and salsa. I have a mixture of beefsteak seeds, so I don’t know if I’m going to get red, yellow, orange or green. It’s always nice to see what the end result is in the garden.

4. Brandywine Yellow (center right) –  This tomato has a better taste that the
Brandywine Pink, but it doesn’t produce as many tomatoes and it’s the last tomato plant in the garden to produce fruit. If you find that you like this tomato, you may want to double the amount of plants in your garden and stalk them well. They produce fruit up to 2 pounds each. Very pretty in salads or slices.

5. Cherokee Purple (front center)  – This tomato has beautiful deep burgundy color. The flavor is bold. This tomato is what home gardening is about, and no home kitchen garden is complete without at least one plant.

 

6.  Amish Paste (Heirloom) – This is the tomato that I use for sauce. It’s a plum tomato that is meaty. I also use for salsa. Be warned, this plant grows hardy amounts of fruit that will topple your cage if not heavily stalked.

 

 

7. Better Boy (Hybrid) – One of the most popular if not the most popular tomato in the garden. This is the slicer of all slicers and great on burgers. Nice medium size tomato that you can’t go wrong planting.

 

 

8.  Early Girl (Hybrid) – Another kitchen garden favorite.  As result, I plant Early Girl because it produces early and it’s a great slicer.  Early Girl is perfect on burgers as well as my go to for tomatoes and mayo.

 

9. Paul Robeson (Heirloom) – Last, this tomato is called the luxury tomato. It is named for Paul Robeson who was considered elegant, renowned, and charismatic. I think this is my favorite tomato.  I remember the first time I tasted this tomato, I fell in love.  Because the taste is indescribably delicious, it will have a place in my garden if no other makes it way in.
Heirloom tomatoes are not know for their beauty, but their taste.  The crack and have other blemishes, but the tast remains superior.  I hope that you found my list of favorite heirloom tomatoes beneficial.  You may also like:  10 Benefits of Vegetable Gardening.
 
 
 
 

How To Make Bird Seed Cookies

 how to make birdseed cookies
Fortunately, spring is finally here and our feathered friends will be migrating and hunting for food.  My grandchildren and I spent the week-end making bird seed cookies for the birds.  The grandchildren had fun, and the birds think they’re delicious.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds before you leave.
So, I thought you would love the recipe to make these treats for your backyard friends too. It’s a great activity to do with the children.  Also, this is a great activity to do when mother nature is sending cold, snowy weather your way.  The bird seed cookies are full of protein to help keep our backyard friends warm and their tummy full.
Part of the fun is gathering the cookie cutters that you want to use.  Have everyone pick out a favorite cookie cutter shape and than get to work.  Here’s what you will need:
    • 3/4 Cup flour
    • 1/2 Cup water
    • 1 Envelope unflavored gelatin
    • 3 TBS Karo corn syrup
    • 4 cups of wild birdseed
    • Mixing bowl
    • Wax paper or non-stick spray
    • Cookie Sheet
    • cookie cutters

bird seed cookies

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl except the bird seed and mix until well combined.   Now, mix in the birdseed gradually. Spray your cookie sheet with the non-stick spray or line with the wax paper. Spread the bird feed evenly on the cookie sheet.  Use the cutters to cut out shapes.

An alternate method is to fill the cookie cutters by the spoonful, which is what we did.  First, place each cookie cutter on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Next, you want to fill the cutters to the top and pack it so the mix is nice and thick.

 

bird seed cookies

So, we used my spring cookie cutters, which include a birdhouse, bird, and the sun to create the treats. However, use whatever you have on hand.  The kids will enjoy using whatever you have.  Nothing is off limit.  Once the cookies have been created, use a straw to make a hole at the top of each cookie.  As a matter of fact, allow the treats to harden over night before you set them out.  You can place them in the freezer to help things along.  You can also store them in the freezer for future use.  Unfortunately, these cookies don’t do well in the summer.  They fall apart easily.

However, once the cookies have set place a piece of twine through the hole of each cookie so you can hang them. Place them on tree branches and bushes, and go bird watching.  My grandchildren think the cookies are cool, and enjoy watching the birds eat the treats through the windows.  Cold, snowy days with a warm fire make the best bird watching days.

 

bird seed cookies

 

Last, making bird seed cookies is a fun activity to make throughout the year.  Most importantly, it’s a great way to get the kids involved in gardening and nature.  So, be sure to make extra.  You can keep them in the freezer and use them to feed your feathered friends throughout the year.  Don’t forget to make a few for friends who love to bird watch too.  They make great gifts.

You may also like:  How To Bring Backyard Birds To Your Feeder

 

Preschool Garden Vegetable Printables

teaching children about vegetablesteaching children about vegetablesteaching children about vegetablesteaching children about vegetables

I found these adorable garden vegetables printables for kids at www.vegetable-gardening-online.com.  So, I thought I would share them with my readers. They’re a fun way to to expose children to gardening.  Furthermore, you can discuss the importance of vegetables in our diet. It’s also a great way to start a conversation about planting a small vegetable garden.  Furthermore, they can become familiar with growing their own food. Getting children involved in gardening teaches them to nurture and to become self-sufficient. Children should learn to be responsible at an early age.  Responsibility will become a life lesson.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening posts.

Try planting kaleidoscope carrots to peak your child’s interest.  Orange can be boring so add a little color. Plant kaleidoscope carrots that are yellow, purple, orange, red and sometimes white. Popcorn is a favorite on movie night. Try planting some colored popcorn. Husk the corn after it has dried and store for movie night. Tomatoes come in different colors too. I plant red, yellow, orange and purple tomatoes. Get creative and make it a family event. Children often like what you like.
Also, allow your children to explore seed catalogues.  They can check out different varieties of plant and flowers. For example, sunflower are big deal at my house. We plant Russian Mammoth, Lemon Queen, and Autumn beauty for a colorful summer display. The Mexican Sunflower is small and could be a variable option for children. Don’t leave pumpkins off you list.  Remember they do require lots of space though.
I plan to let my 4 year old granddaughter color these vegetable printables.   Grab a box of crayons and print these tomato, green beans, carrot and corn printables, and let your kids go to work too.
Stay tuned for our April Showers posts this month.  We’ll be sharing more activities for kids, craft roundups and other ideas for those rainy days.  You can download the vegetable printables here:
You may also like: Kids Gardening Crafts