Homeschool Village Garden Challenge -Link up #4

 It has been a pleasure to  link up with The Homeschool Village for their garden challenge.  I have so enjoyed watching the progress of our garden, through my monthly photos- something I would have missed out on if not doing this challenge.

Here is the garden way back at the end of April.  Just a few things in the garden.  My photos for the March challenge were of our potted plants, we did not have anything beside the blackberries, in the ground yet.

Here is a current look of the garden at about 2 months later.  Our garden has for sure taken off!   The huge plant front and left is a zucchini plant.  In our garden right now, we also have a cucumber plant, several varieties of tomatoes (including little cherry tomatoes) bell peppers, chili peppers, green onions, green beans and corn.

Here are the green beans.  My kids like to eat these raw out of the garden :)

We have a few stalks of corn.  Not too many, because they would cast too much shade.  There is nothing like corn on the cob, just minutes after you picked it.  I like the morning glories the kids planted with them this year, makes the corn kind of impressionist, don't you think?

A Bible verse we have been discussing here at the house, in relation to our garden is this one:

"If a man will not work, neither shall he eat." 1 Thessalonians 3:10
 We have been discussing how it is right that a man capable of work needs to work to provide for himself and his family and also about the end result of work plus planting: how it is a gift and a wonderful thing that you can plan, plant and work a garden, and how in return, you will harvest food to feed yourself and your family.  We have also told the kids about how, during times when work was not plentiful, Sky's father- who had 7 kids, would turn the backyard into a huge garden and work it, so he could feed his family.  I am honored to have him as such a great example. 

Homeschool Village Garden Challenge -Link up #3

I am linking up with the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge, this is link up #3.

Things are really happening in our little garden.  Here in the photo above, you can see what our garden looked like a month ago.  A few things growing, but pretty bare...

 What a difference a month makes!  Last month our garden consisted mostly of romaine lettuce, celery, green onion and berry bushes that were flowering.  
You can see in the photo this month, we have a squash plant taking over front and left, next to it is a cucumber plant that is almost as big.  On the front right we have some bell pepper plants and then several tomato plants that have small green tomatoes.  We've got two different areas going with climbing green beans, then more green onion, garlic and two rows of corn. 

 Here are our climbing green beans.  Amie and Demi really like picking these and eating them raw, a good incentive for me to plant kids are not really into vegetables, except for broccoli.

Last month a shared a photo of our blackberry and raspberry bushes in bloom.  We now have fruit, and the kids have been out there several days, eating them right off the vines.  Amie brought me the very first blackberry for breakfast a few weeks ago, a sweet moment :)
  • Something I learned this month...that if you don't use up your romaine lettuce in a timely manner, they get really tall and bushy and taste kind of strong.  

  • A recipe I will be using when our green bell peppers are ready:

Stuffed Green Peppers (adapted from the Better Homes & Garden Cook book)

6 large bell peppers  (or two large for the parents and just stuffing for picky kids)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 16 oz canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup quick cooking rice
1/2 cup water
dash salt
dash pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Cut tops from bell peppers, discard seeds and membrane.  Dice up some of the tops to make 1/2 cup full, put aside.  Cook the whole bell peppers in boiling water for about 5 minutes, uncovered.  Set them up-side-down to drain.  In a skillet cook ground beef, onion and the chopped tops until meat is browned.  Drain fat off and then add the can of diced tomatoes-undrained.  Add the uncooked rice, water, salt, pepper and worchestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for 18 minutes.  Stir in half the cheese and then stuff the peppers with mixture and place in a baking dish or pan.  If you are only making two peppers, put the extra stuffing around the peppers.  Sprinkle the other half of the shredded cheddar cheese on top, bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Serves 6.

How is your garden growing??

Homeschool Village Garden Challenge- Link up #2

 The end of April finds our garden filling out a bit, but still quite empty. We've got our blackberry vines in the back, against the wall.  In front of them we have a few rows of celery, and in front of the celery we have a few heads of romaine lettuce.  Further up on the left, we have some green onions and garlic, up front on the left we have a zucchini plant and on the right an heirloom tomato.  We've got various plants started in pots. 

This is our very first year growing celery.  I have never seen real celery growing as a plant.  I was really enchanted with the whole thing.  Sad to say, my kids have never seen real celery growing, either.  I went out this weekend and cut my very first stalks to use for dinner :)

Here is our romaine lettuce.  We've had this before.  This year we tried to space out the planting, so we wouldn't have it all ready at once.  we did better, but i still think I might have to give some away, we've got several ready to be picked this week.

The kids have not been very involved with the garden this month.  They've done a bit of weeding, but we still do not have a whole lot out there.

A book we've found very helpful,  California Gardener's Guide

I am linking up with The Homeschool Village's Garden Challenge :)

A new garden year

I am linking up with The Homeschool Village's Garden Challenge :)

April 1st finds us with a few plants started, but the garden is mostly bare.  We've got sunflowers started in pots.  The kids planted these.  I think sunflowers are everyone's favorite garden plant here at home.
We've got tall 6 footers, and some mini sunflowers and some in-between.

 We have about 8 romaine lettuce plants going, already in the ground.  This year we are going to plant them every 2 weeks, to try to get a steady supply of salad fixings going.  Romaine lettuce, any kind of lettuce, is kind of pricey here in OC.

  • I feel like Ma Ingalls  every time I go outside and cut a head of lettuce for a salad.  It is very satisfying. 

We also have some celery and green onions starting. (my photo of the lettuce was boring, I'll include those next month..)

Our blackberry vines are blooming against our back wall.  We had to purchase a special kind of blackberry that would bloom and fruit without cold weather.  Living in OC can be a hardship, sometimes.

Just sometimes.

Do you see who I spied peeking out from under an artichoke plant?  This is Elsie, trying to be inconspicuous.  The fence here is to keep the hens out of our garden.  Hens and gardens do not mix.

We started out with a split rail was pretty naive of us, really.  We then graduated to a taller deer fence.  Next came the 10 foot deer fence.

Annabelle is looking for a way in, too.  She is seriously displeased.  The girls follow me over when I go into the garden, they are veery interested in all that goes on here.

Well, so far, this is it for the garden...just romaine lettuce, celery, onions, potted sunflowers and blooming blackberry vines.  We are going to be planting some corn this weekend, and then some sugar snap peas.  The younger kids, specially- really love eating the peas. I was sure surprised, but pleased!

Two of my favorite resources for garden with children are:

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots 

Learn and Play in the Garden by Meg Herd

Thank you for visiting our garden, you can link up at The Homeschool Village and visit other posts!

A Family garden project

Gardening with kids is an exciting thing. So much to look forward to, so much to plan, so much dirt!

Gardening with my children is a journey of optimistical planning. Here begins the planning and hopeful visions of a fruitful harvest.

A lesson on sowing now and reaping later; on planning, care and steadfastness.

Here are the lessons lived out for us, before our very eyes;

"Slow and Steady finishes the race" -Aesop's fable


"Behold, the sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell beside the way, and the birds came and devoured it. And other seed fell on the rocky place, where it did not have much earth, and immediately it sprang up because it had not depth of earth." -Mark 4:2-5

and this living lesson-picture:

"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes, That ruin the vineyards While our vineyards are in blossom." -Song of Songs 2:15

a lesson to my children to be aware of the peculiarities, habits, and introspections (teen angst, anyone??) - the little foxes, that ruin the bright living out of Christ in the Churches and in ourselves.

why here's one of those little foxes, er- hens- now...looking for a way back into the garden...

Favorite gardening with children books at our house:

How about you, are you planning a garden this year?

garden fever

Everything I learned about homeschooling boys, I learned from the book
"Farmer boy"
. Well, okay, not really...but I'm thinking that would be a good post title/subject.

I read the book for the first time last year, I know shocker...somehow as a ten year old girl-the book just did not capture me, and I skipped it. sshh, don't tell Laura.

Anyhow, (bear with me, I'm typing the way my mind works/uh wanders...Sky is actually used to this, but I sometimes wow him) I picked up on some thoughts while reading Farmer Boy, at the time we were struggling with how to help our bonus student, Teddy.
The two central ideas of work-and plenty of it, and self-control jumped out at me like bright red flags during my reading.

I remarked to Sky that we needed a big farm, post haste to properly grow us some men.

We don't have a farm, and obtaining more land here in Orange County is kind of out of our reach..just a little! Here is our attempt at work-plenty of it: behold the garden. Each of the kids has a little plot. Here is Josie on her plot, planting some strawberries.
Here is Josie's blueberry plant, and look! -blueberries on it! This is actually a big, big deal-because many of the berries you think of when thinking 'farm', need cold spells and do not grow well here in So. California. We have a few varieties around our house that are supposed to do well here, but so far production has been disappointing. I am still waiting for my apple tree and currant bush to produce...
You might have noticed the deer fencing in the photos. No, we don't have a deer problem, we have a hen problem. Our fencing of the garden has evolved each year. We finally graduated this year to a six foot deer fence. If this doesn't keep the hens out, I don't know what will...

Notice the girls already looking for a way in...

Books on gardening with kids we enjoy here at Home;

*Learn and Play in the Garden by Meg Herd

*Roots shoots Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy

*Dk- The Gardening Book by Jane Bull

*Linnea's Almanac