May 2013

Mini-Jack Pumpkins are a favorite of kids of all ages

Young children love to
help water

Growing Good Gardeners

Sharing  your love of gardening with kids is especially rewarding. Find a little garden space or set some pots in your garden for your children, grandchildren or neighbors to plant, dig, rake or play in. Give them big-seeded flowers and vegetables, extra seedlings or plants and some child-safe tools. And an added bonus - kids want to eat what they grow themselves!
The excitement of picking the first ripe cherry tomato, snow pea or green bean, carving a homegrown pumpkin for Halloween, or presenting the family with a bouquet straight from the garden may well turn a young gardener into a gardener for life!

Choosing the right seeds to plant is very important for success, so we've created A Children's Garden Collection of five easy to grow, colorful, big-seeded flower and vegetable varieties that kids can plant, harvest and enjoy on their very own. 

For helpful tips and suggestions, read Gardening with Small Children 

More for making gardening enjoyable - and safe - for young children.
Grow a Child Friendly Garden (.pdf)   Grow a Garden with a Toddler (.pdf)

Even 2 and 3 year-olds can
plant their own little patch

School gardens develop interest and enthusiasm for the natural world.


Fragrant Chocolate Daisies

"Flashy Trout Back" lettuce

May in the Trial Garden
by Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager

With the first really warm days of spring, we have lots of blooming flowers and spring vegetables to harvest this month. The rich scent of our heirloom chocolate daisies (Berlandiera lyrata) has been wafting through the garden every sunny day; their chocolate-y fragrance makes the garden smell like brownies baking! These cheery little yellow flowers dance happily above gray green leaves that bloom hard in the strong spring sun. We had a special seed crop of this deliciously scented and hard to find flower grown just for us and will offer it this fall.

We have been cutting the hefty heads of Organic lettuce "Flashy Trout Back", which will also be available next fall. This handsome heirloom with its pretty and unique speckled leaves is easy to grow and quick to mature, with a sweet taste and crunchy texture. It even stood up well to our last few weeks of unexpected early heat without getting bitter, which impressed us as many heirloom lettuces are not very heat tolerant.

We are pulling up bundles of root vegetables which were sown in late winter and are maturing quickly as the ground warms up. We are trialing 4 newer varieties of Certified Organic carrots from Germany and Holland to choose the best tasting, and are harvesting "Keisei Beni", a Japanese red turnip whose globe-shaped, bright red roots contrast handsomely with the deep green tops. In the trial garden kitchen, we have been roasting these turnips and steaming or stir frying their tasty tops for lunch.

Japanese Red Turnips

Organic Dutch carrots

Come Visit Often!
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Best Wishes, Renee Shepherd

What's On Renee's Blog
Gardening with Kids: Resources

Beth Benjamin, Renee’s Garden Horticultural Advisor, recommends her favorite children’s gardening books.

Recipe of the Month
Radishes in Creamy Dressing

This appetizing salad is crunchy and creamy all at once. A great way to enjoy a bumper crop of spring radishes.
See all Renee's Online Recipes