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The Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour, 2012 continues!

Don’t forget to check out the next stops on our tour:

On July 18th Homeschooling: or Who’s Ever Home will write about A Broader Definition of Success for Gifted Children.

On July 19th A Tree House Education will feature Why Homeschooling 2E Kids Makes Sense. Homeschool in Florida will share Get Out of Your Own Way: How to Listen to the Needs of Your Gifted Child.

On July 20th Making Music With Kids will discuss Getting Teachers on Your Side. Finding the Right Fit for Gifted Young Children. Barely Educational will offer Worrying , Over-Analysis and Parenting your Gifted Child.

On July 21st Teaching my Baby to Read will feature Welcome to Cruising.  Dancing with Dragons will write about Teaching the Visual Spatial Learner: When Your Child Thinks in Pictures.

…and here’s my latest “I Brake for Moms” column in The Weekly Herald this week.  I have to give a shout-out to Jen from Post-Apocalyptic Homeschool who suggested the last line.  Thank you!

Okay, now I’m really supposed to be on blogging vacation this week, so let’s see if I can stick to that.  🙂

Inspired by the Woodland Park Zoo

We are going to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle later this week, and that got me to thinking. When we first moved to Edmonds I had never had a vegetable garden before. The kiddie farm area at the Zoo really inspired me. (See Bruce’s movie here.)   Now, six years later, my family has really copied a lot from what the Zoo’s demo garden has taught us.

We have grapes….

a mini dwarf apple orchard and blueberries…

perennials like asparagus…

sunchokes, rhubarb and artichokes…

a gigantic raspberry patch…

including yellow raspberries…

multiple compost systems…

and the capacity to grow killer green tomatoes.

Now I just need to convince my husband that we should get chickens…

Planting Peas

Everyone in our family has been down for the count with the flu, except for my WONDERFUL husband who has been taking care of us. Today Jenna and I were finally feeling a bit better, so we went out to plant peas.

Pea planting is a great fine-motor activity for little kids, because unlike lettuce or carrot seeds, peas are big enough to pinch in two fingers. Jenna used sticks to poke the holes, and smoosh them in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me until later to try sprouting some peas indoors so Jenna could watch the seeds burgeon. By that point, we were out of peas so we used beans instead!

Garden Update, September

(For my previous garden pictures, please see May, June and July.)

It is the second week of September and we have approximately two more weeks of semi-warm weather before it starts to get cold again where we live.

Right now our squash are about midsize, and have taken over the former pea patch. My fingers are crossed that we will be eating spaghetti squash soon, but it might not stay warm long enough for them to mature.

Our tomato plants are almost six feet tall, and only just now producing a few pitiful handfuls of orange tomatoes. Hopefully I’ll be able to ripen some of them on the windowsill all the way into October. That’s the only way I can get them to turn red. The garden gets over 8 hours of sunshine a day, but only if it is sunny. That’s a big if where we live.

My husband is so clever! He has started putting down bamboo leaves between our raised beds, which is the best mulch ever and completely free. It makes a soft path to walk on, and smothers weeds and grass. That’s the asparagus patch on the right of the picture. This time of the year we let it grow really big so that the roots will be nice and healthy over the winter, and ready to send up new shoots in spring to eat.

Here’s Bruce(6) digging up potatoes. He planted the entire bed himself, helped water, and dug them up for dinner. I told him that he should feel really proud of himself for helping put food on his family’s table.

Garden update, end of July


This seems like a cruel post to write being that so much of the country is suffering through heat wave and drought, but it is is the exact opposite where we live.  I’ve only watered my vegetable garden three times this summer because it has been so cold and rainy. 

Sadly, there is probably no chance at all we are going to get tomatoes this year, even though our vines our huge.  Normally I am a strict organic farmer, but I have even resorted to spraying the tomatoe blossoms with fruit setting spray to no avail.  It’s just too cold for the plants to fruit.

We are getting peas at least, which both Bruce and Jenna love to eat right off the vine.

Our rasberries are also just starting, which are also a family favorite.    I like to share pictures of my garden because I think that teaching kids where food comes from, and giving them the experience of being able to eat things straight out of the yard is an education in itself.  This is a lesson I learned from my mother-in-law and sister-inlaw.

Kids in the Garden, June Update

(You’ll have to forgive me for this one.  Mainly I’m writing this post to show pictures of my garden to my grandma in San Diego.)

Earlier in the year I posted about our vegetable garden, and how my kids contribute. Here’s the link: http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com/2011/05/18/learning-in-the-garden/

It’s been a really cold and wet start of summer for us where we live, so I’m not holding out much hope for our tomatoes, but here are pictures of what our garden looks like at the end of June.


From left: Peas, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, artichokes, rhubarb, with asparagus and suchokes in the back.

Our raspberry crop

Our little two year old grape plants.  They are just getting going.  That’s some chard and lettuce in the planter on the right.

Hi Grandma!

Learning in the Garden

It’s the middle of May and it finally decided to be sunny today.  We get a lot of rain where we live, so it was a big treat to be outdoors.  Bruce has been responsible for planting almost our entire garden this year.  I can’t say that I tie as much science into this as I should, but he did understand the concept of crop rotation when we were reading a Kid’s Discover magazine about the Industrial Revolution.

Notice our various compost contraptions in the background.  The tumbler on the left is by far my favorite.  Perhaps this could be a science project this summer? Which one works best?  I’ll need to clean them all out first.

Getting our garden to the state that my six year old can do so much of the work on his own, has taken a lot of advanced planning, money and elbow grease.  A couple of years ago we bought the raised beds, although I’m not too happy with them so please don’t copy me!  Raised beds in general are excellent, just these ones, not so much.  We also had to buy tomato cages and the composters.  The pea fence was a gift from my MIL and is so convenient!  Three or four years ago we planted the asparagus and artichokes, and have since added rhubarb and Jerusalem artichokes.  All of our strawberries need to be taken out because the raccoons get them.  Having perennials on the periphery is nice, because then we only have to actively cultivate the three raised beds.

Jenna’s contribution to the garden right now is mainly as an eater.  I have to keep my eye on her because today I saw here eat fresh spinach from one bed (great!), but then immediately try to eat a potato leaf (poisonous!!!) from the bed next door.  Rhubarb leaf is also extremely poisonous.  It will get easier this summer once the raspberries start, and then she’ll stay over in that part of the yard and forget about everything else. 

When people talk about vegetable gardening as a great way to save money, I laugh because a garden can suck up and extreme amount of cash in the beginning.  But once you have your beds built, the equipment in place, and a nice set of perennials growing, then your expenses aren’t very much.  The best part is that your family begins to think more closely about where food comes from and gets excited about eating fresh fruits and vegetables.