Friday, April 15, 2011

Any green thumbs in the family?

Anyone who has talked with Joseph has probably heard about his farming dreams. It's not a constant thing with him but, once or twice a year, he gets on a long kick about how he wants to move to a farm--either right now or when he grows up--or farm in our back "yard". Joseph, of course, would also be the first to tell you that, "Just in general, I really can't wheel on grass." Which isn't exactly true but it's definitely not the best surface for him.

Anyway. We have long wanted to do some container gardening so that Joseph can get at what we're growing but we've moved every summer since Joseph was old enough to help plant a seed so we've never taken the plunge. With all we have going on right now, large-scale container gardening isn't a big priority but Eric really, really wanted to try out some lettuce this year. We both have mouth-watering memories from the summer Eric house sat for an older couple who told him to please harvest and eat anything that was ready in the garden while they were gone. Almost every night we went out and picked ourselves an amazing salad.

I can't claim much credit for this project. Eric did all the research and found that lettuce does pretty well in a pretty simple container. My basic contribution was to pick up the lumber during my weekly Home Depot run (during which I discovered that a 10-foot 2x6 board is the largest thing I can safely move to a lumber cart while wearing a baby). Then, during classic "let's do a project" mode at our house, Eric was working from home and pointed out that since the two little boys were asleep I could go out and set up the planter boxes. I was more than happy to do that all on my own but, of course, both boys woke up early and Eric ended up coming out and doing most of the work himself after all.

The kids were jumping out of their skin with excitement. Joseph and Margaret alphabetized the seed packets and placed the seeds carefully.

But William wasn't too pleased when he found out that we hadn't just built him a huge sand box to dig in all the time (I also can't claim any credit at all for this magnificent outfit of his):

Fortunately, there was plenty of watering to do so all three kids got to help with that.

Joseph has checked several times this afternoon and reports that we don't have any plants sprouting quite yet. We're actually a little late to the game with lettuce planting for New Jersey but we're supposed to have lots of cool, rainy weather for the next couple weeks so we're hoping that something will grow. If we have success we may look at what we can plant later in the season or expand things a bit next year.

And Joseph has now decided he wants to be a botanist when he grows up and is requesting that our next home schooling unit with the Rice boys be all about plants (click on that link for some more pics of my kiddos and a peek at what we did this week).

And please excuse our rather sorry-looking patio. We have a construction site next door and they put up a chain link fence inside our property line which we'll have to investigate at some point. And, just generally, the patio was left in a sort of chaotic state. But, living in the city, any outdoor space at all is a bonus so we're happy to have it.


Emily said...

looks great!! Makes me want to plant lettuce too! Great work Johnstons :)

Robyn said...

I want to do a planting unit too!

I want to see your garden!

I am so glad Joseph thinks of us that way!


alphabetizing seed packets? get out.

Susan's Family,
As a former kindergarten teacher and a fellow homeschooler, I feel it my duty to inform you that Susan is, for all intents and purposes, running a gifted and talented program in her dining room. Joseph's reading level is WELL beyond grade level. Both Joseph and Margaret are the kind of kids that only need to hear a set of facts one time before they can recite them from memory. These kids are *smart*. Which, you probably already knew...but I just wanted to add some professional opinion. ;)

I just love them.

Susan said...

Just in the interest of keeping it real :) we've never tried alphabetizing before and Joseph actually didn't get it at all but Margaret was all over it.