Wednesday, August 27, 2008

To Reader Anne - Gardening For Kids

Thank you to Anne, who answered my pumpkin question. It was so nice of you to introduce yourself! In regards to your apology for not sharing more, let me just say that I have a bad habit of oversharing. You've noticed, right? LOL Restraint is so hard! I definitely need to work on that.

We did go out to the garden right after I read your comment and find both male and female flowers. You were right. The "penis" part was easy to recognize. Who knew? One has to be a scientist to get this right.

Few female flowers were found, compared to the large number of male flowers. Luckily, we do have three though, and guess what? They did have tiny pumpkins, already growing! We hadn't noticed them before.

I wanted to tell you about a wonderful book we recently checked out, entitled The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons. There are many wonderful garden books for children, but this one is special in that it contains LOTS of higher-level information, engagingly presented. A joy to read!

The boys learned all this information from the book:

-The difference between perennials and annuals.

-A rundown of the various edible parts of vegetable plants (leaf, bulb, flower bud, root, tuber, stem, fruit, seed). One page was devoted to each type. Many examples were given. Great pictures.

-How to grow your own vegetable garden.

-All about big vegetable farms and how the food gets from farm to store to table.

Another great book is Tops & Bottoms, by Janet Stevens. It's a delightful story about a hare who gets the best of a lazy bear by enticing him into sharing a garden.

"We can be business partners!", Hare said. "All we need is this field right here in front of your house. I'll do the hard work of planting and harvesting, and we can split the profit right down the middle. Yes, sir, Bear, we're in this together. I'll work and you sleep."

"So, what will it be Bear?" asked Hare. "The top half or the bottom half? It's up to you - tops or bottoms."

"Uh, let's see," Bear said with a yawn. "I'll take the top half, Hare. Right - tops."

As you've probably guessed, Hare gets all the edible parts, by planting only root vegetables. He gives the useless tops to Bear. Then, with the next garden, Bear picks bottoms and gets taken again. It's a really entertaining book, while still providing good technical information.

Other good ones:

The Reason For A Flower, by Ruth Heller
Plants That Never Ever Bloom, by Ruth Heller
Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!, by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Again, thanks so much for introducing yourself and helping with our pumpkins!

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