Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Our various gardening projects are coming along nicely. After watching 4 Monarch butterflies emerge from their chrysalids successfully, we have 5 more caterpillars on our milkweed. My flowers in our front planting bed are looking lovely- it's the best grouping of flowers I've managed to put together in that bed so far. Our veggie garden has produced a ton of cherry tomatoes. Not much else, but lots and lots of tomatoes. We have watermelon and pumpkin seedlings; so far, so good on those, but who knows if we'll actually get fruit out of them?

The kids and I are experimental gardeners- we just throw seeds in the ground and see what comes up! Our latest experiments are seedlings we bought at Home Depot. The kids spotted some fruit producing plants and begged me to buy them, so I did. We got a fig tree (it's about a foot tall so we won't get any figs from it for a while, if it survives) and DH put it in the ground for me over the weekend. We also have pomegranate, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry. Oh, and of course strawberry, but it's too late in the season for anything to come of that. I don't think we'll get anything much out of the other berry plants either since we're pretty far south, but we'll see.

Our worm bin is up and running, sort of. We bought worms; I haven't poked around too much to check on them since they apparently don't like to be disturbed. I know we're doing something wrong, though since we have a ton of fruit flies. (We keep the worm bin outside on our covered back patio so the flies won't get in the house but some of them have anyway, drat it all.) I checked on the problem solving guide where we found the instructions for the bin to see if I can do anything about the flies and it is fixable. I'm going to add more soil, covering the food scraps that are currently in there, and change out the newspaper bedding to see if that helps.

The worm bin led to a 4-H speech for The Wild Child. We attended our 4-H County Events last weekend where each of the kids had to present a short speech. The Wild Child demonstrated "How to Build a Worm Bin", Martha, Jr. also gave a demonstration on how to make a chevron pattern out of yarn, and The Eldest spoke about how to use a grid for art. They all did really well, if I do say so myself, and Martha Jr. walked away with a blue ribbon AND a fancy purple ribbon! She's also advancing to regional competition; she is tickled pink. I'm tickled pink that regionals are NOT on the same day as her piano recital a week later!

This is our first year in 4-H. I tried to sign the kids up previously but for whatever reason I just couldn't swing it. This year we went to their open house and found an old friend running a club; we signed up immediately. There is a big emphasis on parliamentary procedure and public speaking which I really like, so 4-H offers different benefits from Girl Scouts. It's not all agriculture and sewing, which is a common image people have of 4-H. They also offer a heavy dose of science; the first project we participated in with our club was science related. I hate that I didn't find this group earlier so that The Eldest could have participated longer, but oh, well. We'll be involved from here on out with the younger ones, for sure, and I think they'll get a lot out of it. Martha Jr. even found a friend in the club- she took ballet classes very briefly a few years ago and one of the girls that she especially liked from her class is in 4-H. They have a lot in common so I'm happy that they have rediscovered each other.

That's all for now- my gardens are calling me!

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