Family Gardening #6: Strengthen Your Seedlings


P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!


Seedlings just about ready to see their new outdoor home!


WHO?

This is all about you and your family.

Time to P.L.A.Y. and dig in the dirt and get things growing!

WHAT?

Plan A: Your seedlings are just about ready to head outdoors.

Plan B: If your seeds never really took, no worries, head out to your local garden center with a short list of plants you’d like to try and be sure to thank these folks for all their expertise in getting those seeds to grow and providing you with the option of starter plants!



WHERE? WHEN? HOW?

Backyard Bliss!

Plan ahead by checking your local weather conditions as both the plants and your family members will appreciate being outdoors and digging in the new garden when it is “warmer and not wetter”!

In this month of May my family members continue to take their seedling trays of veggie + flower plants in and out of the house as a daily practice.

By placing the seedlings out in mid-morning on the south side of the house they are receiving warmth, sunshine, and getting more sturdy with the gentle breezes.

They bring them back in at night as the temperatures still fall into the 30’s up here in New England.



WHY?

Family Gardening continues to be a perfect P.L.A.Y. in Place Plan as it has been since before Victory Gardens in the early 1900’s with bonus benefits of being in nature throughout the seasons, growing foods and beneficial flowers, and being able to be right in your own backyard!

 P.L.A.Y. Connection Opportunities:

Have your family members look up Victory Gardens and discover their origins and purpose. If you have a multi-generational family living situation you may have the benefit of asking an elder family member what they remember of those times or if their parents had told them stories of that era.

Also, as a side note, be sure to put planting bulbs on your autumn “to do” list so that when spring rolls around next year there will be instant beauty and gardening inspiration popping-up right outside your door! Family members could begin looking up which type of bulbs they would like best and the locations that suit them.

Early blooms from bulbs appear at our home as a Curious Capkin takes in the gorgeous sight and spring scent!


Notes:

  • This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • The specific gardening needs you have can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).
  • P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is for everyone! Pass it on!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Family Gardening #5: Why Growing Food Matters


P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!

Warning – Taking a Sneak Peek Ahead – What’s for dinner???!!!


Butternut Squash, grown right here, turned into delicious soup to take off the winter chill.


WHO?

This is all about you and your family. Time to P.L.A.Y. and Grow a Garden one small seed at a time and reap the rewards the whole year through!

WHAT?

As you continue to follow this Family Gardening series HERE and your seedlings continue to grow and are nearly ready to plant outdoors I wanted to encourage your efforts with a sneak peek of the gifts you are about to receive for your efforts.


WHERE? WHEN? HOW?

The beautiful butternut squash soup in the photo above was the result of a generous gift of x4 squash bestowed upon us back in February as our fellow community members prepared to leave for a trip and wanted to make sure their root cellar didn’t have things spoil while they were away.

The squash was lovingly grown right here, as local as you can get, which meant that my family was receiving the best nutrition possible and the squash traveled the least amount of miles possible  with only a few hundred feet from their garden to our table!

~Many thanks E + E!!!

All of their efforts matter and yours do too. For every seed or plant you can put into the soil and grow local foods you and your family will benefit ten fold. Start small if it is overwhelming and ask for assistance from family members if you are not a member of the “green thumb club” (just like me and my brown thumb). Simply finding a way together to grow a few veggie or fruit plants where you live will actually go a long way in terms of sustainability and nutritional benefits. Truly a win-win.

And as you slowly expand from one potted plant to two and then a 2×2 garden to 10×10 always remember you can also be purchasing locally grown delights at your farmer’s market or local CSA to support their work, especially as you gain appreciation for how much time and tending to is required to grow quantities of food!


Local strawberries + rhubarb come together in a delicious pie! Yum!


WHY?

Honestly the YUM factor is not to be missed!!!

Just look at this strawberry rhubarb pie created from our frozen stash of locally grown berries and stalks. Buying in season and preserving by freezing, dehydrating, or canning are all tried and true ways to enjoy your garden and local produce the whole year through.


It is well worth putting time and effort into this P.L.A.Y. practice of Family Gardening, a perfect P.L.A.Y. in Place Plan, with bonus benefits of being in nature throughout the seasons and being able to see amazing changes right in your own backyard!


Reminder:

  • This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.
  • The specific gardening needs you have can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).
  • P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.


Creative P.L.A.Y.-filled Connection Opportunities:

  • Suggest family members make list of foods they’d most like to grow or purchase locally as they think with their taste-buds of recipes they’d like to make. Strawberry rhubarb pie anyone?
  • OR – Another way to go about this is to cover the kitchen table with your cookbooks and have family members bookmark their top 3 recipe preferences. Then determine if you can grow any of the foods on the ingredients list. A veggie soup perhaps? Create a tangible, and eatable, goal!
  • Research as a family what foods grow in your area and in which months do they arrive. Most local CSA’s will have a chart online that you could reference so that you start to know in addition to the small garden you are creating you’ll also know when to purchase and freeze bulk produce for your family meals (ex. blueberries arrive in July in our area).
  • READ for Inspiration + Information + Conversation – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver has a wealth of gardening inspiration, a great deal of information on why local foods are important, and many leaping off points for conversations where your family may or may not all agree (example – omnivore vs. vegetarian vs. vegan). My husband and I read this book back in 2008 and requested my two homeschooling tweens (at the time) do the same. This was a catalyst and very much a part of the change of the trajectory of our family’s eating, growing, and way of being. We did not all necessarily agree with all the points Barbara made however it did get us all thinking about our actions in this world and openly discussing them. Just this month I decided to revisit and read it again. Wow! It is amazing how over a decade later I can see the changes we’ve made AND so many more possibilities for change to go and how everything she has shared in this volume is still so very relevant. The part I like best about this book is how Barbara takes you month-by-month through the growing cycle and highlights the how and why for gardening and local foods.


Pass it on!!!

More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is offering encouragement for all. Sharing is caring so please pass it forward!

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee” (Yay! The bees are back = spring special!).

Simply BEE!

Family Gardening #4: Keep Sowing Seeds to Make Seedlings!!


P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!



WHO?

This is all about you and your family. Time to P.L.A.Y. and Grow!

WHAT?

This week continue to sow seeds and magically make seedlings!

~ More Inspiration Below Next Photo! ~

Reminder: This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

WHY?

P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

WHERE? WHEN? HOW?

The specific gardening needs you have, including how to specifically sow and tend to seedlings, can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).

Nothing fancy required simply some containers, soil, water, seeds and sunlight!



Sowing Seeds to Magically Make SEEDLINGS!

  1. Refer to posts #1, #2, and #3 in this Family Gardening series to get up to speed on making seedlings.
  2. Start to plan where the seedlings will be planted outdoors including how much space and most ideal conditions for the types of plants you chose. With foods consider having some fencing to keep critters out and how much space you need between plants. With flowers consider if they will go in the ground or in pots and how the colors will compliment each other.
  3. While you patiently wait for the seedlings to grow and for the ground outside to be ready to receive them also consider trying more of the following ideas to engage with your family and the plant process.


Creative P.L.A.Y.-filled Connection Opportunities:

  • Suggest family members take photos or keep a garden journal to record the growing process including what seems to be working, what needs to be worked on, how things look – height, size, color, and the overall seedling process.
  • Write stories or poems or silly sentences about the seedlings and how they grew. I’ve always found it funny to call some of the seedlings “leggy” when they get too thin and tall.
  • If you have a family member that loves making calculations they can start charting how much food might be produced from a single seedling or the cost of the seeds and materials vs. the cost to purchase the food at the store. Loads of data sifting could begin now and in the future for those that are drawn to plotting and graphing things out (one of my own family members comes to mind!)
  • Start discussing recipes you might like to look up and try that make use of your garden foods as then it will be easier to jump right into the kitchen when the food ripens.


More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is an offering to ALL:

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Family Gardening #3: Food + Flower Seedlings!


P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!



WHO?

This is all about you and your family. Time to P.L.A.Y. and Grow!

WHAT?

This week is all about making seedlings.

~ More Inspiration Below Next Photo! ~

Reminder: This series will continue to follow the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

WHY?

P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

WHERE? WHEN? HOW?

The specific gardening needs you have, including how to specifically grow and tend to seedlings, can simply be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).

Nothing fancy required – simply some containers, soil, water, and sunlight.



PLANT the SEEDS and like magic you create SEEDLINGS!

  1. Remember those seed packets you were going to purchase last week? Great – time to take them out and make some magic!
  2. Be sure to read on the packets the exact timing for creating seedlings as you want to time it so they will be ready to plant in the ground when the conditions are right, not too soon and not too late!
  3. Now gather together some small containers or specifically little six packs like seen in these photos to add soil and plant the seeds according to the packet instructions.
  4. Create an environment where you can keep them, warm, watered, and in sunlight.
  5. Check on them daily to see their progress and tend to their needs.

Creative Connection Suggestions:

Suggest family members take photos and make notes or sketch in a garden journal to record the growing process including how things look – height, size, color, what seems to be working, what needs to be worked on, weather conditions when things move outdoors, and the overall seed to plant process.



More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan  – Family Gardening HERE


This P.L.A.Y. series is an offering to ALL:

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods and flowers of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Family Gardening #2: Food + Flowers – Buy Seeds!


P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!


Curious Capkins checking out some seed varieties my family selected for this year’s garden.


WHO?

This is all about you and your family!

WHAT?

Each week P.L.A.Y. hopes to highlight some of the foods and flowers we are growing or are being grown locally with some special add-on features like how we and our community are making use of these garden goodies.

Note: This series will be following the seasons and growing patterns according to living here in a Zone 5 northern New England climate and so you’ll need to adjust some things accordingly.

WHY?

P.L.A.Y. is here to encourage you and your family on your gardening journey simply by posting some of our experiences as inspiration and basic prompts to growing food and flowers.

WHERE? WHEN? HOW?

The specific gardening needs you have, including types of seeds this week, can be answered using your favorite search engine online seeking DIY instructions as well as library eBooks and audiobooks (especially as we are all asked to continue to P.L.A.Y. in Place at the time of this posting).


My daughter is partial to buying flowers that attract butterflies as well as having fun with a few other varieties.


Begin – BUY SEEDS!

  1. I’ve overheard my green-thumb-go-to-folks talk about buying seeds from a few favorite companies online usually beginning in March on through until April. They also buy seeds at the local farmer’s co-op in addition to buying some harder to grow plants later on in the season to put straight into the ground. Purchase what you can, where you can, with organic being a priority.
  2. Also it is key to start with what you and your family love to eat most. Cucumbers for example are great for growing and munching straight out of the garden. No cooking or prep time required!
  3. Read the seed packet to find out how to create seedlings and when the correct timing would be. For example in our Zone 5 area cucumber seeds are put in containers at the beginning of April and the seedling is ready by about 6 weeks later at the end of May to go in the ground.
  4. If you are catching this post later in the spring season no worries either buy a few plants at your local garden nursery or even cut up some potatoes to plant directly in the ground!

Loads of dark greens for our green smoothies and fun to pick tomatoes are top on our list!


More P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Family Gardening HERE


More about what this P.L.A.Y. series is offering:

  • If you are new to gardening this series is designed to encourage you and your family to take small steps towards growing foods of any kind and any amount.
  • If you’ve tinkered with gardening in the past and things didn’t always work out this series is here to encourage you to try again AND do it as a family focusing on each individuals strengths to help it all come together.
  • This series will offer up suggestions for basic leaping off points where you and your family can begin and choose to deep dive or keep it simple in the world of gardening.
  • Most of all this series will be a source of encouragement and hopefully an inspiration to simply get in the dirt (aka garden) and P.L.A.Y. and the rest will “bee what it will bee”.

Simply BEE!

Family Gardening #1: Food + Flowers


A P.L.A.Y. Project with a Special Purpose:

Grow Foods

Grow Flowers

Grow a Healthy Family that P.L.A.Y.’s Together



P.L.A.Y. in Place with a Plan – Time to Get Growing!

If you are simply ready to jump in on this P.L.A.Y. Project tune in every Sunday to see the P.L.A.Y. plan unfold HERE.

If you’d like to know more about the motivation behind this P.L.A.Y. project READ ON!



In these unexpectedly challenging times we are all asked to do what we can where we can to make a difference in our own lives and in each others lives.

Growing foods, any kind and any amount, together as a family is certainly one way to have a positive impact on your health, budget, well-being, and has a ripple effect out into your communities.

Growing flowers also has beneficial effects for both attracting pollinators and for human sensory pleasure and so much more.



A P.L.A.Y. Short Story – Three Green Thumbs


My husband has a green thumb when it comes to growing foods and although he’d say he has a lot to learn I’ve seen proof arrive in my kitchen that the guy I call “Mr. Science” seems to know a thing or two about starting with a seed and ending up with a meal on our plate.

My daughter has a green thumb too when it comes to growing flowers and has been especially motivated to grow ones that attract butterflies (of which she has become well versed over the years) and she also lends a hand in the food gardens as needed.

My son has been a willing helper in harvesting our garden foods, putting food by in the kitchen freezer, and making our daily green smoothies. He can help keep plants alive both indoors and outdoors and has learned a great deal about wild edibles. I consider him in the green thumb club too.

I on the other hand have always felt I had the brown thumb of the family never being able to keep plants alive in the house or outdoors. I am also hard pressed to be able to identify any plant when it is simply all green without fruit on it or the names of most flowers. Weeds vs. garden plants, forget about it I have no clue. I sneeze and get watery eyes the minute we turn over the dirt in the garden or enter our community greenhouse. A green thumb I am not.

And yet the irony is I am vegan and plants tend to be a key ingredient to my diet as well as my 80% plant based diet family. I am also a nature lover immersing in flower gardens, food gardens, as well as the forest and meadows of where I live bringing along my Capkin for creative P.L.A.Y. moments.

And so over the years I’ve learned  to do what I can both outdoors and in the kitchen without a green thumb: by making green smoothies + juices and recipes using harvested ingredients, seeking local CSA’s for grains and farmer’s markets for extra veggies, berry picking in bulk at local farms, gathering wild berries, prepping and preserving foods by washing + cutting + freezing or dehydrating, and the list goes on.

I have come to value very much that as a family of four we are able to use both our time and talents to cover many of the bases when it comes to gardening and having healthy fresh foods in our meal planning. And by making the conscious choice to live in an intentional farming community over the past five+ years we continue to learn from our gardening and farming neighbors and fill in many food (and flower) gaps together.

This year my family seems to be kicking it up a notch with a few new goals in the growing department. Seems like a perfect time to take a few photos and share our P.L.A.Y. Plan!


Sneak Peak at the Next few Weeks!

Curious Capkin Sees Seedlings!


Stay tuned for more of this Family Gardening series story – including green thumb photos along the way – and all unfolding in real time throughout the spring, summer, and fall!


Next up Post #2 following this series through the seasons:

P.L.A.Y. with a Plan in Place – Time to Get Growing!

HERE


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