Fun Springtime Garden Projects for Kids

 
garden projects for kids
Kids absolutely love to dig in the dirt, help in the garden, and experience life growing around them.  Helping mom and dad in the backyard offers kids fresh air, exercise, learning experiences, and family bonding.  It’s a win-win situation, and what’s not to love about that? With a little bit of patience and some planning, even parents who are novices in the garden can enjoy this wonderful backyard experience with their kids.  Check out my other gardening tips.  If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got the perfect garden projects for kids:

Plant Garden Bulbs Together:

Beautify your landscaping with beautiful blooming flowers, Hostas and elephant ears this year. Let your child help select the plant bulbs and plan out your soon-to-be gorgeous garden beds. Spring and fall are the standard planting times for bulbs. Let the kiddos help you dig the holes, insert the bulbs the right way, and measure the distance apart with a ruler. Your kids will be thrilled with what blooms the following season and feel so proud of their accomplishment.

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Build a Kid-Size Garden

First, give your child the gift of their own garden. And by gift, we mean the pleasure and learning they’ll get from it because it truly is a gift to them. You can buy a ready to build raised garden bed at a big box home store, build a DIY version with leftover wood, or give your child an area of your regular garden and fence it off.  Furthermore, let them pick a few veggies to plant and let them be responsible for the planting and watering (with your guidance, of course). When a child sees their fruits and veggies go from seeds to the dinner table, they’ll feel so proud! Studies show that kids who are active in growing their own food, are more apt to eat it too. So go ahead and plant the rainbow!

Plant a Butterfly Garden

Also, this fun idea is probably the easiest and reaps the most benefits. Pick an area of your yard or use a big container planter and fill with rich, black soil. Pick up an inexpensive packet of Butterfly Garden Seeds. Let your child sprinkle the seeds on the dirt and water. Watch all the different varieties of flowers bloom and attract butterflies and humming birds.

Start a Worm Composter

So, your first thought might be “oh yuck” but your kids and garden will love your worm composter. You can buy a pre-made composter or build your own DIY version for around $5. It’s very easy to make and only requires a bit of drilling holes and setting up the bin. Vermicomposting requires worm compost bedding and compost worms (can be ordered online). They will need to be watered and fed which your kids can be responsible for. The compost created by the worms makes your garden grow like crazy and healthy too. Your kids will be more fascinated by the worms.

Add Bug Repellant Plants Around Play Areas

Next, pick up a few Citronella or Lemongrass from your local garden store to use by your children’s play areas. Both Citronella and Lemongrass repel mosquitoes and flies, which are both a nuisance to kids playing. Using a few containers you have around the garage, fill with dirt and fill with the Citronella or Lemongrass plants and water. Place around the outer edges of your kids’ swing set and sandbox.

Make Homemade Stepping Stones

Last, this project may be a little messy, but it’s so much fun for the whole family!  The difficulty of this project will depend on the age of the children. Find rocks on your property or a nearby park to make your stepping stones.  Give them a good washing with soap and water and then paint them with non-washable paint.

Another fun idea is googly eye balls glued on to make “pet rocks.”  This is a great craft to do with kids.

A more advanced approach is making your own stepping stones with Plaster of Paris.  Just mix the Plaster of Paris with water in an old bucket, and pour into molds.  Also, fun molds are available at art supply stores or you can use simple disposable aluminum baking pans. While the Plaster of Paris is still wet, you can etch in names, add gem stones or other finds, and paint when dried. Stepping stones also make great gifts for grandparents and friends.

Max Warehouse is your one stop shop for all your home and garden needs, home organization and improvement, auto, lawn care and everything in between.  We have great products for your garden projects for kids too. Whether your project is large or small, they have your back!  Free shipping over $50.

We hope that you enjoyed our garden projects for kids, and will select a few to implement in your garden this spring.

9 Tips to Increase Your Vegetable Garden Production

how to increase vegetable garden production

 

Owning a vegetable garden is an ancient practice that has survived centuries. Using a great lawn sweeper in your yard can add untold beauty to your home.  A lawn can be used for more than just flower gardens.

Vegetable gardens allow you to eat homegrown crops all year round. As promising as this may seem, it is unfortunate that many vegetable gardens do not really reach their full potential. The size of your garden may seem limiting, but there are ways to improve its production. Here are 9 tips to increase your vegetable garden’s production.  Be sure to check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

  • A Closer Look at Your Growing Medium

This may seem a bit cliché but it doesn’t reduce its importance. Your garden soil is basically the environment your vegetables would sit and be in. With this in mind, any improvement – directly or indirectly – on the soil would have an effect on your vegetable production. Get the soil tested.  Add fertilizers and lime as well as synthetic and organic nutrients if needed.

  • Use of Quality Seeds and Seedlings

While the soil may be the environment the vegetable will sit in, the quality of the seed or seedlings would determine the level of production. You cannot invest in poor quality seeds and expect a good production.  Investing in improved seeds and seedlings can help improve the general production of your vegetable garden.

  • Understand the Principle of Spacing

Most crops, if not all, have a required spacing. Plants attain different sizes when matured. The required spacing is one that would maximize the entire garden space and still allow for proper growth of the plant.

  • The shape of Your Beds

Another way to increase your vegetable garden’s production is to provide more space for planting. This brings raising and rounding out beds into focus. To maximize the garden’s bed, raise the beds and ensure they are rounded out to form an arc.

  • You May Need to Interplant

If you are working with limited space, you may want to interplant different crop types.  Educate yourself on compatible vegetables that can be planted together.

  • Understand Sunlight Direction and Requirements

Anyone who owns a garden obviously knows the effect of sunlight on plants. It is usually advisable to locate gardens in the south facing part of the house. This allows the garden get optimum sunlight as the sun travels from east to west. By increasing the amount of sunlight reaching the plants, your will get a better harvest. Get an idea of the sunlight requirements of the vegetables you are planting and position the garden in a way that gives it better access to sunlight.

  • Controlling Pests

When it comes to crops or a vegetable garden in particular, nothing is more of a nuisance than pests. With pests, prevention is far better and way cheaper than cure. A production without any pest infestation to deal with will be higher than one with pests.

  • Weeding Properly

Just like pests, weeds can become a nuisance to your vegetable garden if left unattended. Weeds compete with crops for nutrients and space. Manually remove these weeds or get the best sweeper for your garden by looking at lawn sweeper reviews.

  • Mulch It All Up

Mulching provides a protective layer to the top soil. Depending on the mulching material used, mulching can also add nutrients to your soil. Additional nutrients to the soil would help increase production. While they both have their advantages, it is best to use organic mulching materials over inorganic materials. The major difference between them is the possibility of decomposition.

So, you know how to increase vegetable garden production.  A bigger harvest will allow you to enjoy fresh produce during the winter months.

About the Author:  James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

Garden Dos and Don’ts For The Nervous Parent

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It’s common knowledge that the more that kids are outside, the happier they are. It boosts health, their immune system and their sense of curiosity and wonder. It’s just a given: kids should be outdoors.

The world is a dangerous place, or at least it feels that way. The days of 1970s latch-key kids are long gone.  That generation of parents has been replaced by a generation who see danger rather than a safe neighborhood.  An enclosed garden can help ease a parent’s fear of allowing their kids to wander around the neighborhood.  Children can still play outdoors, and you can protect their environment.

If you’ve got an area of your garden is not being used and you have no idea what to do with it, it can be tempting just to throw things at it and see what sticks. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to help you create a great outdoor space.  Be sure to check my other gardening tips too:

DO: Make It Secure

A privacy fence is invaluable tool in helping to keep your brood from prying eyes.  It’s also great for keeping them inside the perimeter of the property where you can keep an eye on them, and know their location at all times.  If you have a part of your garden that is overlooked, consider a gazebo or similar, which has the double impact of protection from the sun.

 

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DON’T: Install A Pond

Image From: WikiMedia Commons

There’re a couple of caveats to this one.  Parents must teach children to respect the water.  That’s a tricky task with youngsters who want to catch or watch fish and dragonflies.  Keep temptation away until they fully understand the dangers of drowning.  If you can’t resist a pond, ensure it has sloping sides so any child (or creature) falling in can clamber out.

DO: Focus On Soft Landings

Children are going to stumble in the play area or fall off the swing set.  It’s almost inevitable. You need to ensure the ground that they’re landing on is friendly, no matter what the weather. Grass and mud dry out in summer heat and can be as hard as concrete. Sand is a popular choice, as long as it’s kid-friendly.  You can also use wood chips or mulch in your play area.  Unfortunately, they’re not as forgiving, but they’re better than bare earth.

DON’T: Allow Tree Climbing

I know, I know – it’s a childhood dream! Every kid wants to climb trees!  Ensure the tree is strong enough to hold your child’s weigh. Tree branches can be deceiving.  Being large doesn’t make them strong.  Children moving along them can cause them to break with the additional weigh.  Building a tree house is a viable solution. If not, call in a tree expert to assess the tree for weakness and have weak limbs removed.

DO: Give Yourself A Vantage Point

Try and organize your garden in such a way that you can see it all from one spot.  Hiding places, such as behind sheds, can bring extra dangers.  Block off those areas if possible.  Remove any trees if you must to ensure you can see the entire garden area with a quick glance.

 

 

10 Beautiful Sunflower Varieties

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Sunflowers are a favorite for many backyard gardeners.  Furthermore, sunflower varieties are endless.  Each year I look forward to starting my sunflowers from seed.  Browsing  catalogues and websites in search of the perfect variety to grow each  summer is a favorite past time for me.  Once I decide on a variety, I plant the sunflower seeds in my bottle greenhouses during the winter.  When the seedlings emerge in the spring, I transfer them into the garden.  Check out my other gardening tips before your leave.

Next, I have become fond of a few varieties, but searching for new ones can be fun.  These sunflower varieties always find a place in my garden.  So, here’s a list of my favorites:

  • Lemon Queen – A must have in my garden.  Because, I love the pale yellow petals on this sunflower.  I live in Zone 6B. My Lemon Queens usually get about 4 – 5 feet tall. My Gold Finch love them.  They usually produce 1 – 2 heads per stem.
  • Autumn Beauty Mix – Another sunflower that I love for cuttings. They can have several heads open on one stem at once, and they make beautiful bouquets. They normally grow around 5 – 6 feet.  The flowers are produced in a variety of colors. Usually in orange, red and yellow.
  • Butter Cream – The flowers on the Butter Cream are a pale yellow with brown centers. I add these to the Autumn Beauty and Evening Sun Mix bouquets. They look beautiful among the dark flowers in the mix.  They normally grow 4 – 5 feet.
  • Teddy Bear – Children love Teddy Bears and these Teddy Bear sunflowers are no exception. They are a dwarf variety and perfect for containers and/or borders.  Additionally, they look great on patios, front porches and decks too.
  • Evening Sun – The Evening Sun Mixtures produces flowers of red, yellow and burgundy, which grow to 6 – 7 feet. I add the Butter Cream variety into the mix for bouquets.
  • Mammoth Russian –  Mammoth Russians can grow 8 – 12 feet tall with huge sunflowers.  I’ve had some flowers that have grown to the size of a dinner plate. I roast the seeds from the Mammoth Russian and snack on them through the winter.
  • Moulin Rouge – Needless to say, this flower is an absolute beauty.  It is deep, rich, burgundy and is beautiful with the Butter Cream variety in boutiques.  It grows from 5 – 8 feet.
  • Super Snack Mix – This variety speaks for itself. The seeds are large and great for snacking. The plants grow about 4 – 5 feet and attract butterflies.
  • Mexican  – This is one of my favorite flowers for attracting butterflies and humming birds.  Mexican sunflowers make great cut flowers too.
  • Dwarf  – I love container gardening so, the Fire Cracker and Sunny Smile are perfect for containers.  They are dwarf varieties. They are great for container or borders and provide a nice contrast to the Teddy Bear.

Finally, there are other varieties that are worth checking out.  These are just a few of my favorites.  Before you plant, decide if you want to use them for seed snacks, wild bird feed or in bouquets.  Do your homework and purchase your plants or seeds accordingly.  Additionally, sunflowers can be found in a variety of colors other than the typical yellow.  There’s burgundy, orange, crème, and more. Start your search for next season’s garden and have fun.

Also, you may also like Sunflower and Finches in the Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Ideas To Implement In Your Garden

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Every mother wants a place of her own to relax and enjoy 5 minutes of peace and quiet.  And this is absolutely normal! While being a mother is a fantastic experience, everyone needs a few moments to recharge the batteries and meditate. Even specialists recommend it!

Sadly, most of the time, the house is too small and your relaxation spot may be difficult to implement considering that kids are all over the place. But don’t despair; you won’t have to wait for your kids to move out of the house to relax. You can think out of the box and transform the garden into an outdoor oasis where everyone can relax. With just a few clever gardening tips, the old backyard can be easily transformed to fit its new purpose.  Check out these gardening tips:

Build a pergola

Regardless of how small or big your backyard, a pergola will look gorgeous! Even more, there are so many designs out there that you can create a unique design in just a few steps.

Of course, if you’re the DIY kind of family, you can unite your forces and make your pergola out of salvaged materials. This way you’ll improve your garden’s design, get a bit of exercise and family time, and you won’t have to make a big investment. To me, this sounds like a fantastic idea!

The best part about a pergola is that you can cover it with vines, flowers and all sorts of decorative things. Thus you’ll get to have a cool-looking shadow in those torrid summer days, and you’ll enjoy that lemonade even more.

Invest in high-quality furniture

Your patio furniture doesn’t have to look like it’s been through several wars! If you want to relax, you have to extend the modern, stylish design from the inside, outside. Invest in furniture that will be pleasing to both the eyes and the skin. Get some large, luxurious chairs that can extend and some big, fluffy pillows. Also, you shouldn’t forget about the table – a cute, antique piece will make the morning coffee a lot more pleasant.

To make sure everything looks as elegant and inviting as possible, play with colors and textures. Let your creative inner self free and combine the furniture with the pergola covered in vegetation. The result will be stunning!

Make a special place for the kids

As a mother you can’t be selfish; especially when you have to share your oasis with the kids. So, you can divide the garden into areas, and you can have a relaxation area and a fun and games area. The fun and games area could have a sand pit, a tree house, a small garden where kids can learn about plants and more. The best part is that the children will get to play outside, and you can supervise them from your relaxation area.

A place for friends and family

Another garden tips, if you don’t want to divide the garden, you can make it all into one great place. Add a barbeque or a fire pit, some comfy chairs, and a table and you’ve got a fantastic place where to invite family and friends. While adults relax around the fire, kids can play in the garden.

Finally, as you can see there are plenty of ways to transform your garden without investing a fortune. And, if none of the above interest you, consider starting a vegetable garden. Kids will be thrilled to learn more about growing plants, and you might get to cut off some food costs during summer. It’s a win-win situation.  We hope you enjoyed our garden tips and you will implement a few. 

About the Guest Contributor: Katrina, is a proud mom of two gorgeous girls who loves writing about home improvement and décor. Katrina contributes regularly on various blogs and online publications like Mother2Motherblog.com.