At long last I’ve finally gotten up my strength to stay up late one night and design the child’s garden. I’m really excited about this giveaway, just thinking of a child’s excitement and how fun this will be!
Once again using my favorite garden planning tool, www.growveg.com, I’ve designed this garden to be 4 feet by 4 feet and it doesn’t need to be a fancy raised bed, it can literally be a 4 x 4 section of dirt amended with compost. I’ve chosen a handful of things that I think any child would appreciate with some interest in spring, summer and fall. The varieties are all fairly simple to grow.
You will kick off your spring garden with two varieties of dwarf peas which will ripen in succession, as well as two varieties of carrots and some leaf lettuces that will go all summer. You will have one cool season bush bean (provider) that you’ll start early and then succession plant with a traditional summer bush bean to finish out the season. The Provider beans are great to freeze or pickle.
As the soil warms up you’ll plant Jack o-Lantern pumpkins, sweet heirloom corn and mini cucumbers for eating or pickling. I’ll give you easy directions for tying bamboo stakes together to make a trellis for the cucumbers to grow up and shade the lettuce from the summer’s strong sun. Growing vertically like this allows you to get an extra crop into an already small space as well.
I’ve left spots for basil and cherry tomatoes which would do best as purchased starts from your local garden center.
Although this 4′ X 4′ bed is packed full of food I’m throwing in nasturtium, viola, chamomile, sunflower, marigold and borage seeds to be placed in another spot in your yard that gets full sun or interplant with veggies, or these can be grown just outside the veggie bed boundaries. The nasturtiums and violas are fun to grow and beautiful in salads, the daisy-like chamomile flowers are cheery to the eye and make relaxing “sleepy” tea, and I’ve selected the sunflowers for the edible seeds which can be roasted and salted. The borage will attract garden bees and thereby increase your tomato, cucumber and pumpkin yields and the marigolds will help keep aphids and nematodes away.
I’m hoping a child will have so much fun with this 2010 garden that they might begin a life-long journey digging in the soil and eating real food. And even if you are a grown up with a kid’s heart this would be a great beginner’s garden or a nice postage stamp garden for someone with very limited sun exposure or space. I would prefer to limit the actual giveaway to a child since it includes a pair of child’s gardening gloves but you could always buy these same seeds and start a postage stamp garden of your own.
Here are the list of seeds:
Empress Bushy Snap Bean, Uprising Organics (vigorous plants hang heavy with long 6-7″ pods, crisp and delicous, slow to turn starchy or tough. Great for canning and freezing.)
Provider Bush Snap Bean, Uprising Organics (early bean variety, excels in cooler soil, heavy yields with rich green bean taste)
Sugar Ann Snap Pea, Uprising Organics (early snap pea, sweet eating, medium sized pods on 24″ vines need no staking)
Maestro Shelling Pea, Uprising Organics (sweet, productive, resistant to enation and powdery mildew, long pods on 24″ vines need no staking)
Purple Dragon Carrots, Uprising Organics (sweet, spicy full flavor, bright purple skin)
Nantes Carrots, Uprising Organics (classically sweet carrot with a rich full flavor, great as baby carrots or for fall storage, juicing and pickling)
Merlot Red Loose leaf Lettuce, Uprising Organics (deep burgundy loose head, slow to bolt)
Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce, Uprising Organics (excellent texture and crunch, vigorous upright habit)
Continuity Butterhead Lettuce, Territorial Seed Company (OP, bronze red outer leaves encase a green head, bolts in hot weather)
French Sorrel, Territorial Seed Company (OP, member of the buckwheat family, perennial with spinach like, lemon tasting leaves)
Alibi Cucumbers, Territorial Seed Company (dependable producer, high yield and disease resistant, excellent for fresh eating or pickling)
Golden Bantam Sweet Corn, Territorial Seed Company (OP, an heirloom favorite, early sweet corn that freezes well on the cob)
Magic Lantern Pumpkin, Territorial Seed Company (vigorous, compact, resistant to powdery mildew)
Empress of India Nasturtiums, Territorial Seed Company (deep regal red flowers will billow and cascade)
Johnny Jump Up Violas, Territorial Seed Company (tri-colored purple, lavender and yellow blossoms will re bloom in the fall and reseed)
Tarahumara Heirloom Sunflower, Uprising Organics (7-8′ tall stunning flower head with fuzzy lime green center. Delicious white seeds)
Chamomile – German (flowers are used fresh or dried to make sleepy time tea, reseeds with abandon)
Borage, Peaceful Valley (beautiful edible purple flowers that bees love. This will help attract pollinators to your garden.)
Marigolds – French Brocade, Uprising Organics (cheery bright yellow button flowers that will help keep aphids and nematodes at bay.)
In addition to the seeds here’s what you’ll get:
Printed garden map
Planting directions and growing tips
Pickling recipes for the carrots, beans and cucumbers
Seed saving directions for flowers, beans, peas, sorrel, tomatoes and corn
If the winner is local to me I’ll also provide you with a cherry tomato and basil start but unfortunately I can’t mail those so I can only do that if you are local.
In addition to giving these things away I’m hoping by this weekend to get this information (map, schedule, planting directions, growing tips, recipe suggestions, pickling recipes, seed saving directions) on my site as handouts so if you don’t win you can still plant this lovely garden. Because you will only need a few of each seed variety if you go in with some friends and order 1 packet of each you will save lots of money that you can put towards a nice bottle of California olive oil to dress your yummy salads with.
Please do feel free to let schools, home school units or friends know about the handouts and the giveaway. I would love for as many children of all ages to employ and enjoy these gardening plans as possible!
To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment below by midnight, Sunday March 7. On Monday, March 8 I will use www.random.org to pick a winner. Again, even if you don’t win you I’d be flattered if you used the garden plan, seed list and other materials to grow your own garden.