Thursday, March 31, 2011

HSV Garden Challenge

I’ve been following this really neat blog called Homeschool Creations since we decided to take the girls out of preschool. I really enjoy reading Jolanthe’s posts and decided to take the most recent HSV Garden Challenge. In order to play along I have to share the following bits of information: photos of the garden location, my gardening plans, any rescources and involvement of the kiddos. So here goes! I will post more photos of this unit study as we get to it.

First, I’ve had to do some maintenance on my little chinobilly garden because the Arizona weather has taken its toll. 
I'm so thankful that Matt is generally in charge of this kind of stuff or we would be in great big trouble. I did succeed though in staining the fence.
My strawberry bed was a disaster. I left it alone the past two years and now I see that was not the brightest gardening decision I’ve ever made ~ not that I've had to make all that many yet.

Thankfully, the weather has been good to us and I was able to get the bed all cleaned out. I added more soil and gave it a good soak.

(This photo was taken before the fresh soil was added)
Now it is ready for some fresh plants.
After spending many evenings reading up on all sorts of seeds and methods I ordered some fresh seeds and I splurged a bit too. I ordered some strawberry plants and onions. Both are varieties that intrigued me and I knew I wouldn’t find anything similar at our local Home Depot/Lowe’s.
My very favorite gardening book is the Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch. My friend Audrey introduced me to this book and I've read it and marked it so much that I had to get it rebound. It's really a great book. Another book I reccomend is All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholamew. I learned a great deal about gardening from this book and have adapted a lot of his theories in my chinobilly garden.
I'm kinda addicted to tomato varieties now that I am learning the lost art of canning.
I read that seeds will last many years if stored properly and I’ve been working from seed packets that are going on 4 to 5 years old now. I store my unused seeds in canning jars and keep them in the refrigerator out in our garage.
Since I loosely follow the Square Foot Garden method I am able to get a lot of use out of my 10 x 10 garden. This year we are planting: Pole beans, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, strawberries, yellow squash, tomatoes, watermelons and zucchinis.  
We started our tomato seeds on Monday with our friend EJ. She is such a doll!  It was so much fun to let my girls show EJ the ropes. They are old pros as this is their 3rd year in planting a garden you know…
Aubrey showing off our 16 hopeful tomato plants.
Abby expressing her love of gardening...and fashion....
It was neat being able to share our unit study with Ella and to see how much our girls have learned over the last two planting seasons.

We will be planting a bit more of our seeds indoors next week but the rest of the seeds are going right into the garden. Our plans are to top off the soil in the garden this weekend and get all the cool weather plants planted. I know I should have done this during the first part of March according to our zone. However life doesn’t particularly like to play by the rules of frost dates and climate zones so we are going to wing it and hope for the best.

I’m so excited to use the garden preschool pack with the kids! Hopefully this will be just the kick in the pants I need to get back on track!

Wish me luck…
The chinobilly garden wannabe