Gardening

6 Ways to Give Your Yard an Eco-Friendly Makeover

With the arrival of spring, here are some landscaping ideas to contribute to the overall health of the planet, turning your yard into the perfect “green” space.

  1. Attract bees and butterflies. If you have a garden, you will want these pollinators in your yard. Planting a diverse array of native plants with a staggered bloom that bees and butterflies are attracted to will draw them to your yard all spring, summer or fall. Your local nursery will be able to help make suggestions.
  2. Welcome bats as the organic pest-control powerhouses they are. Bat houses for these flying mammals with a creepy reputation on your property will help you control pests.
  3. Go native with wildflowers and grasses. Cut back on mowing the grass and add some wildflowers and grasses native to Michigan. Check with your nursery, as some may grow too easily and become invasive.
  4. Plant your own salad. Increase the biodiversity of your yard by starting your own garden. You’ll save money, get exercise and enjoy the fresh fruits (and veggies) of your own labor.
  5. Harvest water from the sky. Install a rain barrel to capture any falling precipitation.
  6. Lower your cooling cost with trees. They help clean the air, provide shade and beauty, and can help reduce home cooling costs in the summer depending on how they are planted.

Link to original article:  http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2017/04/06/6-ways-to-give-your-yard-an-eco-friendly-makeover/

Easy Foods Kids Can Grow in the Garden

Update: 4/17/18 Looking for a fun Earth Day activity?

March was National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating, and now Earth Day is April 22nd.  Celebrate by growing your own produce with your family.  Enjoy the fruits of your harvest all season long!

Gardening may help your kids eat enough fruits and vegetables because when they lend a hand in the process, research shows they are likely to eat more produce and try different varieties as well. Gardening is a great way to spend time with your family outdoors and can also build self-confidence and provide a sense of responsibility.

Kids Gardening

Make Kids Part of the Planting Process

Allow your kids to choose the fruits and vegetables they enjoy eating and add other reliable plants suitable for your region and climate.

Go Herbal

Herbs are easy to grow and excess can be frozen in ice cube trays to be stored in the freezer or even dried for later use.

Dig What Grows Below Ground

Digging for vegetables like Beets can be a great way to introduce a new colorful vegetable to your child.

Click here to read more tips on gardening with your family.

Link to original article: Easy Foods Kids Can Grow In the Garden

Starting Plants Indoors - April

Updated: 4/8/18

Get a jumpstart on growing your own herbs and veggies this year!

Did you know that it’s still not too late to start plants indoors for this year? It’s easy to do and a fun activity you can do with your family.  You can usually find seed starter kits complete with seeds, pots and dirt anywhere gardening supplies are sold. Herb seed starter kits can be found as early as March.

  1. Basil. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors around May 20th

  2. Tomatoes. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors around May 20th

  3. Melon. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors near June 1st

  4. Corn. Start indoors around April 15th and transplant outdoors near May 15th

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The Positive Impact of Gardening with Children

Updated: 5/22/18 Gardening provides a great opportunity for kids to play and grow, and can be a powerful tool in teaching children about nutrition.  With a little effort, you can create your very own garden at home!  The benefits of gardening are endless for kids, and encouraging healthy eating at home sets children up for a healthy future.  

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Benefits of Gardening with Kids:

1. Gardening is a great learning experience for children.  Creating and maintaining a garden teaches kids about plant science, weather and nature.

2.  It encourages healthy eating by showing kids how fresh food is grown and then prepared into meals.  Children become invested in food that they garden themselves and have a sense of pride in the foods they have created, making them more likely to eat these healthy options.

3.  It teaches responsibility and the importance of caring for the environment.   It also teaches skills such as patience, planning and organizing.

4.  Gardening promotes physical activity.  Without realizing they are "exercising", kids are able to get physical activity by being outdoors weeding, planting and watering.

5.  It's fun!  Kids love digging in soil and getting dirty.  Gardening is also a great activity to spend time as a family.

Tips for Gardening with Kids:

1. Keep it simple!  Try planting a small bed of soil, or grow fruits and vegetables in an existing landscape in your yard.  If you don't have a lot of space or available land for growing, use small pots with soil for cherry tomatoes or fresh herbs. Use a trellis to grow vegetables like peas and beans.

2.  Use lightweight, easy, and small garden tools and equipment to keep children safe.

3.  Make a scarecrow.  Work with your children to create a fun, and creative version of a scarecrow for the garden.

4.  Select fast growing vegetables and brightly colored flowers to keep the attention of children.

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Does your school or neighborhood may have a community garden?