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If you’ve ever thought farming is a summer-only job, think again – our farmer friends are cozied up indoors during these months carrying out the important task of planning for the season ahead. You don’t have to let them have all of the fun; next time there’s a cold day keeping you indoors, gather your gaggle of kiddos and get started on your own garden plan! Gardening offers myriad learning opportunities in the areas of science, social studies, math, and art. If you’re homeschooling, you may like to connect this activity to your provincial curriculum. Here’s a quick outline of some of the topics that may be touched on or can be woven into this rewarding winter activity.
Draw a plan based on the size of your garden box or space. Consider looking up square foot gardening, which is a great way to work in some math! With square foot gardening, you divide your allotted space into square feet. Thankfully for us, others have already done the wok of determining how many of each plant type will grow well in each square foot. A few examples: 16 carrots, 1 squash, 1 tomoato, or 9 onions can fit in one square foot. As you plan your space consider questions such as:
Choose your plants. You can start by checking your seed stash to see what you already have on hand. Then branch out by looking at seed catalogues and gardening books - either in print or online. Make a day of it by heading out to your local garden centre for inspiration. As you choose your plants, consider questions such as:
Create your masterpiece! Planning a garden truly is an art. Put pencil to paper or mock it up on the computer – just be sure you allow yourselves to rework as you go; it’s seldom just right on the first try and that is part of the learning process. As you find a home for your plants within your garden space, consider things such as:
For great information on adding delicious and healing herbs to your garden, check out EcoParent article Grow Your Own Healing Herbs by Heidi Lescanec, ND.
Print out this guide to square-foot gardening that includes a blank square foot garden to fill in, as well as a plant spacing guide and companion planting list!