Friday, May 28, 2010

Tomatoes are in!

Well, yesterday was only a little exhausting. :-)
I planted all of my tomatoes and peppers and eggplants (aubergine).

13 tomato seedlings, 4 bell peppers and 3 Listadia Eggplants. All but the peppers were grown by me from seed saved last fall or the fall before. Some, like the Moonglow are the 3rd generation of these that I've grown and saved seed from.
2 Moonglow
1 Black from Tula
1 Mortgage lifter (maybe 2?)
3 Amish Paste
1 My Neighbor's Yellow/Red (still working on the name)
2 Soldaki (a nice early Russian variety)
3 seedlings that were volunteers in my containers. Who knows what they are and if they'll set fruit or not. Should be a nice experiment.
Observant readers will notice the lack of experimental plantings this spring. It's true, I'm aiming for boring and well-known (to me) veggies, with not much new this spring. I thought moving, combined with starting a new garden from scratch in a new town 1 zone colder might be enough challenge for my spring. I do think I'll try and do some experimenting this fall with extending my veggie production into winter. I want to look into both root veggies and greens, as before I've only done greens. I also want to start experimenting with seed production from biennial veggies. Crops like Cabbage, Carrots, Kohlrabi, Beets, Onions, Kale, Parnips, Leeks, Chard, Parsley and Turnip all need 2 years to produce seed. I have to dig up a healthy veggie in the fall, keep it in damp sand in a protected place (i'm thinking the large mudroom) for the winter, replant them in the spring and hopefully they'll send up seed stalks. So, expect more exciting experiments this fall. :-)

Here's the rest of the garden lineup so far:
Onions (yellow spanish)
Garlic (hardnecks are still in Des Moines, softnecks are planted here in Le Mars.)
Potatoes (Red and Yellow)
Carrots (assuming they ever sprout...)
Parsnips (assuming they ever sprout...)
Green beans (Purple bush variety)
Basil (green and purple)

More peas
Morning Glory
Parsley (assuming they ever sprout...)
Night Scented Tobacco (if it survives the transplanting)

Still to be planted: (hopefully this weekend)
Squash (winter and summer)
More basil and oregano

It's nice to see that list so much smaller. :-)

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. To remember those who have fought and died for this country, I plan to do something to lessen the need for wars. I plan to finish the garden, finish some sewing projects and balance our budget. Hopefully making my little family more stable and less dependent on foreign oil, which is the driving force behind most of our current conflicts.

Goddess Bless.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Independence Days 5-27-2010

In the past I've kept track of my harvest by weight. That was really interesting, but again this year, more trouble than I have time for. So, as veggie production starts to ramp up, I will try to keep posting what I harvest and when, but more in general terms like "4 radishes." It will allow me to continue to track what peaks and when it peaks and compare gardens from year to year.

Plant the food: Green Beans! Some of my purple bush beans.

Harvest the food: 2 salads harvested this week, spinach and lettuce and field greens. 10 radishes harvested. A dozen stalks of rhubarb gathered from my neighbor who was just going to throw them away! Half of the rhubarb is chopped and in the freezer, waiting to be made into pies or tossed into apple sauce. The other half is chopped and in the fridge ready to be tasty filling or compote or something. :-) Dave is voting pie, but we'll see.
Preserve the food: Rhubarb is frozen, 3-4 cups worth. Dried some lambsquarters (picture above for those wondering about this weed I eat so much of) and radish greens to powder into potherbs. I'll do the same this fall with kale, and add the powdered greens into soups all winter as thickener and nutrient booster.

Waste Not: nada

Want Not: My stack of small sticks blown off the trees is getting quite big. They are a little too big to break down easily in my compost pile, so I've been stacking them up, hoping I can use them to burn. I've been researching designs on rocket stoves, because I think I can use them to cook food. More on this project later.

Build community food: Donating corn/squash/bean seeds to the local 3rd graders to use in their new garden.
I heard back from the food pantry in my town, regarding accepting excess produce from the community garden I want to set up, it seems like they'd like to see such a project, but they are worried about liability, so more work to be done on that front. Next step is probably approaching a church or the city council for some land.

Eat the food: Several pantry meals lately, including a rare meal of fish for baby and I while Dave was out doing his thing yesterday. (I have a bunch of canned fish, but Dave hates fish so we rarely eat it) We've cycled through a LOT of the flour lately, with Dave baking so much bread. That's awesome because some of it was approaching the limit for stored flour tastiness. I makes me a little antsy to see so many empty jars on the shelves, I can't wait to start filling them again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Water Filtration

This is one of those issues where DIY will only get you so far.
You can filter your rain water collection with a scrap of window screen to keep the worst of the bugs and leaves out of the barrel. You can set up sand-trickle-filtration in a 5 gallon bucket and get close to potable water. Add on 10 minutes of roiling boil and you're approaching what you get currently out of the tap here in the US. But, all of that can be done faster and easier and with more portability with a water filter.
These, unfortunately, are not cheap, we are saving up for one, it's on The List, but we don't have it yet. (It's battling with the grain grinder for top spot on The List) Berkey is the brand I want to invest in, as they have a sterling reputation among people in the know. They use gravity to filter water down through their crazy-good filters, which are good for 3000 gallons.

To that end, I'm trying to win a filter from a survivalist blogger I occasionally read. The following paragraph makes me eligible to win a Berkey filter. Wish me luck!

M.D. Creekmore over at the The Survivalist Blog – a survival blog dedicated to helping others prepare for and survive disaster – with articles on bug out bag contents, survival knife choices and a wealth of other survival information is giving away a Go Berkey Water Filter System (a $139.00 value)! To enter, you just have to post about it on your blog. This is my entry. Visit The Survivalist Blog for the details.

Edited to add:
Further research has yielded another DIY method of killing bacteria in water.
Solarizing the water in clear bottles for 6+ hours. The UV-A rays in sunlight kill germs such as viruses, bacteria and parasites (giardia and cryptosporidia). The method also works when air and water temperatures are low.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Buddies, Tomato Thoughts

We had crazy winds here yesterday and a thunderstorm last night, so my plans to plant out tomatoes were thwarted. I am volunteering with a Conservation group tonight to clear some recently donated land and make it suitable for game birds. Hopefully Weds I can get out and plant my poor tomato seedlings.

You can see the tomatoes in this picture, they are the seedlings on the far right. Anxious to be out of their seed tray. Nights are officially warm enough for the tomato babies, although I might have to protect them for a few weeks from the heavy winds we have here. Luckily I have more than enough row cover to protect them. If you are planting out transplants and you don't have any row cover, you can help them out by hardening them first. Put the transplants on a porch or sheltered area for a week or so to acclimate them to full sun and wind. Pick a cloudy calm day to transplant. Make sure they have lots of food and water in their new home.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, some of their common diseases are caused by inadequate nutrients. When I'm planting tomato seedlings I dig a DEEP hole, at least 2-3 inches deeper than the current root structure, and I add a tablespoon of worm castings and 2 eggshells to each hole. The worm castings are good balanced food, (compost could be substituted) and the eggshells help ward off blossom end rot with their calcium content.

Expect a bit of transplant shock the first day or two. Droopy leaves and a sad demeanor. This will pass as they stretch their roots and settle in. Keeping them hydrated and protected will help.

Most of the time I'll uncover the transplants after I'm sure they've adapted. New leaves, strong stems, etc. This does leave them open to pests, but they also get 100% of the sun and rain which they need. And it makes it easier to put in their support structures, which they also need. I grow heirloom variety tomatoes, (Mom and Becky, this is what I gave you as well) they are indeterminate and open pollinated. This means that 1. they grow pretty big, 2. set fruit continually and 3. will usually breed true. I have to use really big tomato cages to properly contain these glorious vines, not the little tripod kind that come up to your knees, I'm talking thick gauge 5 foot tall cages. These cages can hold their own against my big vines, but it does make covering the vines kinda tricky. So, once they get settled and get to the point of needing support, I uncover them, put in the cages and then I just hand pick any pests off. Horn worms and such are easy to find and easier to pick off and throw to the birds. Doing things this way, I save wear and tear on my row cover, and I don't have to resort to petroleum based insecticides. The close contact required to keep pests to a dull roar keeps me in touch with the plants, so I can better predict their needs.

The other really easy thing you can do to keep tomatoes happy is to mulch around them with straw. It'll keep dirt off the leaves, keep moisture levels steady and keep their roots cool.

Once they get to flowering and setting fruit, it's not a bad idea to side dress the plants with some compost. I sometimes forget, and they always forgive me for it, but it can help boost production.

First things first though, get those transplants in the ground soon! The moon is waxing, this is a great time to plant green beans too!
Happy gardening!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tulip Festival

We had some family fun at the local Tulip Festival this past weekend. Lots of Dutch food, wooden shoes and tulips. A good time was had by all. Enjoy the cute pictures!
These types of events are great. They are local, so money stays in the community, and we don't have to use as much gas as we would if we drove to a bigger city and a bigger festival. Lots of local craft people, making stuff by hand and selling it to other locals, I love supporting that kind of thing. We bought a frog shaped iron door knocker from a local guy who had his forge set up right there at his booth, Rowen was very intrigued by the whooshing of the bellows and the bright fire and banging of the hammer on the anvil. We ate delicious brats made by a local meat shop there in Orange City. And pigged out on Dutch pastries. Rowen of course has inherited a sweet tooth from every side of the family, and since he's only got 6 teeth... :-D
There was music of course, Rowen and I danced a little bit, he loves dancing as much as I do. The parade was cute, Rowen liked waving at the people as they walked past. What a little charmer. He fell asleep before the fireworks started though, which was nice too, as Dave and I got to snuggle a bit while we watched them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gardening with the Podling continues

Wow, I can't believe it's been a few weeks since my last Kindergarden post. Rowen and I have been busy little bees lately, here's the update.Containers are coming along slowly. Great lettuce crop in the cold frame. This lettuce was sown in DSM in the seed starting tray, moved to LeMars, then it sat in my dining room until just a couple of weeks ago when I finally got it transplanted out to it's proper place. I have arugula sewn in between the bunches of Tango lettuce, hopefully they sprout and I get some arugula before it gets too hot. There are onions next to the cold frame, but the pretty irises block the view from this angle. Everything else in containers is still pretty small.

Baby Rowen helped me pick our first bowl of salad out of the garden. Spring lettuce, kohlrabi thinnings, herbs and field greens (weeds). It was pretty tasty! ( I didn't wash the greens well enough and the salad was gritty, but.. other than that! Pretty tasty!) He was so cute, I would bend over and pick something for the salad, and he would find something near him and carefully pick a few leaves off and hand them to me to add to the salad.

He was very excited by the garter snake we found on Wednesday. He chased that poor snake halfway across the yard before it hid behind the steps. Hopefully that particular garden buddy will stick around, I'd love the help with the small rodents.

Rowen also helped me expand the plot a little bit this week. I didn't want to rent a tiller, so I just took a shovel and turned over another 2 feet along the side of the plot. Rowen got a little trowel and proceeded to do his own bit of digging, somehow ending up with dirt all over himself and some in his mouth. Good times. Sadly didn't get a picture of that.

An Open Letter on "Draw Mohammed Day"

This was a response to a Pakistani blog post, the author of that blog made comments on blogs that I read, blogs that were discussing the latest image of Mohammed censorship here in America. I post it here as an open letter to other Muslims who may be angered by the actions of Americans who feel the need to respond to the censorship.

Violence, or the threat of violence is not an acceptable answer. Here in America we can say or write (or draw) anything we want to, even if it hurts someone's feelings or lends support to a viewpoint not popular to the viewer. If I went around threatening harm to everyone in this country who said something I found stupid or offensive I'd spend so much time hating and hurting that I would never know peace. I find it's better to simply ignore those words that I find offensive. They can't hurt me, they can't make me change my mind about something I believe, they are only words or images. I can turn away, or listen to something else, focus on a peaceful or productive task.
For instance, I find your view of pagans rather offensive, as I myself am a practicing pagan. I celebrate the changing of the seasons and the harvesting of my crops. How exactly does that make me a terrible evil person? Yes, I supported Draw Mohammed Day, but not because I am a pagan, my religion has nothing to say about other religions, I support it because I support my right to free speech. Not just my right to speech that's non-offensive, but the right to ALL speech, no matter it's content. Which is why I respect your right to your views about my chosen religion. I don't agree with them, I think they're wrong, but I think you have the right to voice your beliefs and I won't threaten you with violence. I don't think those rights extend to violence against opposing views.
You will never succeed in making America silent. Will you try to kill every American? For only then will you quiet our voice. If you don't like our views on free speech and separation of government and religion, then quit watching our cartoons, quit enjoying our social networking sites, and stop reading our newspapers and comics. Just go bury your head in your sand of choice and enjoy the quiet.
Myself, I'll take the noisy, offensive, wonderful sound of freedom, over silence any day.
Goddess bless.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Independence Days 5-17-2010

Oops, been almost a month since my last Independence Days update.

Planted: Carrots and Parsnips into the garden plot. Parsley, arugula, swiss chard and amaranth into pots.

Harvested: random bits of purslane and dandelions, mostly just tossed them into soups. Salads this week I'm thinking. :-) Nibbles of chives. Rhubarb!!! Mmmm..

Preserved: froze some rhubarb

Waste Not: Made some chicken broth with the carcass of a chicken that was cooked for lunch meat and soup meat. The chicken broth made a tasty soup a few days later. Tried to feed Rowen some of the nice chicken meat, but he wasn't interested, so it got further recycled into a white bean chili.
Dave's been baking bread like a champ!! He was trying to make some bread crumbs out of a leftover heel, but I threw it in the compost. :-P

Want not: Stocked up on some meat that went on sale for Memorial Day weekend. Not local, and not organic, but it's cheap and that will help us save up to bulk purchase some meat that is local and organic.
Purchased a table for our dining room from Goodwill for cheap. Got chairs for free from a neighbor. Yay for used!
Put up some curtains we got from the landlady.
Made a shirt for Rowen and a gift for a co-worker's new baby out of material on hand in my stash.
Went to dozens of garage sales during my town's annual day for such things, but came away with only a couple of toys for Rowen and a pair of jeans that are a little too tight for me. Still need a couch darn it!
Politely declined an offer from my neighbor to give me a gas powered mower. :-) It was a nice thought, I'm glad to be liked by the neighbors.

Build Community Food Systems: Been super busy on this front. New town, new county, new gardeners. I've met some gardeners from the town where I work, and I'm going to help maintain a garden for the 3rd graders at the elementary school over the summer. I'm donating some seeds for that effort as well.
I've talked with the local food shelter for the town where I live, about setting up a community garden and passing on veggies to them. Apparently there are liability issues to work out.
I've been trying to find farmers markets, but I'm having no luck. There is supposed to be one in my town, but for 2 weeks now it has failed to materialize. I think I'm to the point where I'm just going to have to plan to drive the 20-30 minutes to Sioux City to go to their market on Saturdays.

Eat the food: We've polished off 95% of the canned goods from last year. All that's left is some tomato soup that didn't turn out real good, and some salsa that turned out really bad and a little bit of corn and green beans. This last week saw the end of the tomatoes. Mmmm so good.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Friday, I should be happy

I should be happy, but all I can think about right now is the oil spill in the gulf.
Places that my family has ties to, places full of a dizzying array of life, covered in oil.

This piece sums up a lot of my thinking on the subject.

Today I have little rage toward oil companies and coal companies. They are, after all, doing a service for billions of us with their gas tanks and electricity meters. We're all to blame. Though I no longer drive, though I live in a city (Portland, Ore.) where I can choose renewable sources of electricity (wind farms and hydroelectric power), the spill weighs heavily on my soul.

How can we stop causing such terrible disasters? It's not easy, surely; it takes a recalibration of our true needs. "But I must drive" -- to work, to the grocery store, to pick up your children from school, to take your mother to the hospital, you may be saying to yourself. I know people who chose a job that paid $20,000 more each year with an 80-mile round-trip, people who need to live in roomy suburbs and commute to the city, people whose needs for consumption and activities and the right schools require driving each day, spending hours on the road in the service of more money, more opportunity, more stuff.
I keep asking myself if there is more I can do to prevent such things from happening. Are there more ways I can reduce my driving? More ways to reduce my plastic use? More ways to reduce my energy use?
Lots of questions, lots of sadness, no easy answers.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Garden Buddies, Last Frost Date

Well my garden buddies, we are past the last frost date. Now's the time to begin prep work on your warm weather veggies. Some years you can plant them out now. Given the cold-rainy ickiness that we've had for the past week, I would recommend you let things dry out at least a week before planting out. Tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, they all get really sulky in cold wet soil. It's much better to wait until things are really warm than to push it and send them all into shock.

But, you can start putting them on your porch during the day, and gradually start acclimating them from greenhouse conditions to garden conditions. They have to get used to things like wind and real sun and that is easier done when you can bring them back inside at night or during inclement weather. You can also start prepping the soil where the warm weather transplants will be set. Aerate the soil, with a hoe or a fork, add some compost, knock down any large weeds. If you want it really warm and toasty for the transplants you can pin down some black plastic to solarize the soil. (I don't, but some recommend it.) You'll want some sort of mulch on hand for when you transplant tomatoes. The best way to keep them disease free, (Dad wisdom here) is to never let the leaves get wet or muddy. Straw works, landscape fabric works, but have it ready so you can put it around the transplants as soon as they go in.

Beans can probably be planted as soon as the soil is dry enough to work with. But, if you prefer to plant by moon sign, I'd wait another week or two until the moon is waxing again. If you don't want to have to deal with trellis or poles, I highly recommend bush beans. Unlike the pole beans, bush beans will harvest in waves, 2 most years, 3 in an excellent year. This makes picking easier as you don't have to search every day for beans hiding in trellis, just watch the section and pick the whole thing once or twice.

Lettuces and other greens should be a few inches tall at this point, if not larger, with several true leaves and no flowers. Now's a good time to side dress them with some nice compost or worm castings, and a good time to nip weeds before they get out of hand. (If you have lambsquarters, chickweed, dandelions or purslane I'd recommend you leave them as they are just a nutritious as the lettuce and spinach you planted.) If you've got small little lettuce plants that are already sending up a flower stalk, that means they got stressed somehow and are "bolting," going to seed, and will probably be bitter.

Other things that should be up and going strong: Potatoes, onions, peas, garlic. If something isn't up by this point, I would recommend you dig down and do some investigating. It might be that the plant rotted, or didn't root right or was damaged somehow. Plug the holes with spare plants if you have them, or random plants/seeds. No need to let good real estate go to waste. Garlic and Onions will appreciate a nice layer of straw, to help keep all the nice rain from evaporating away. I usually don't put it on before the LFD because I don't want things to rot.

Carrots, Radishes, Parsnips, Kale, Turnips, Kohlrabi, these are all things where you might have started some a couple weeks ago and they are up in baby leaves, or you can start some now. These all do well with succession planting, so if you want, leave some room to do another row in a couple of weeks. Also set aside some seed to do a planting of these at the end of summer for fall harvest.

Cabbage and broccoli transplants can go in any time now. I highly recommend you cover them with some row cover or Reemay. In our area Imported Cabbage Moths will lay eggs on brassicas and their cute green babies will eat them to lace. A simple row cover over the plants will keep those pretty white mamas off your tasty brassicas. It also serves to ease the transition for those transplants, lessening the sun glare and temperature swings and wind exposure.

There you have it. Get out there and garden! The moon is almost new, which is a great time to transplant. Greens and lettuces and peas should be harvestable in a couple of weeks if they aren't already. Veggies are coming! I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Daily Bread

I never understood the concept of daily bread when I was younger. I figured it was just a quaint bit of language held over from days before Sara Lee and her 24 slice wonder bread. Encapsulated in fairy tale rhymes and standardized prayers, "Give us this day our daily bread..." but what did it really mean?
Becky started me thinking about it. She had just moved in with her sister and mom and was baking for two little toddlers, at least 3 loaves a week. She called it her daily bread and gave me her recipe which I tried a few times while I was unemployed and pregnant. Baby + two moves later and the baking stuff is once again unpacked and we're trying to bake daily bread again. This time though, it's Dave at home doing the alchemy.
He is doing a great job of course, and as I expected, he found his own way. We're using a no-knead recipe from Mother Earth News. It mixes up a large supply of wet dough that is supposed to make four 1 pound loaves. He's tried it with white flour and wheat flour and now we're playing around with percentages of both. It's a pretty forgiving recipe and even the times we thought it was screwed up beyond redemption, a little additional flour and it baked up great.
It's beautiful, it tastes great, it's easy to make, and best of all it only has 4 ingredients, water-yeast-sugar-flour. No weird preservatives, no crazy chemicals or processed foods. Just simple and nutritious. Plus, it costs less than a buck a loaf, which can't be beat at the grocery store.

He makes a new loaf every other day at least. So, we have our daily bread and it means a lot more than I ever imagined.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rioting, For and Against Austerity

Pictures from the Greece riots this week. These riots grabbed my attention because they began as a reaction to austerity measures. It serves to remind me that even though myself and a small group of online friends may be rioting FOR austerity, the majority of Western Civilization is less than enthused by the prospect.

From my prospective, whether they're enthused or not, austerity is coming, and it's coming to a town near you. As usual, Greer has said it well, and I'll borrow his words.
... recent Greek governments, like many others, made the strategic mistake of using borrowed funds to provide a good deal of that unearned largesse, and the resulting debt load eventually collided head on with the ongoing deleveraging of the global economy in the wake of the latest round of bubble economics. The result was a fiscal death spiral, as doubts about Greece’s ability to pay its debts drove up the interest rates Greece had to pay to finance those debts, increasing the doubts further; rinse and repeat until something comes unglued. The much-ballyhooed announcement of an EU bailout package stabilized the situation for a few days, but that’s about all; the death spiral has already resumed, accompanied by bloody riots in the streets of Athens and comments by the usual highly placed sources that some kind of default is becoming inevitable.

Headlines for the last few days have warned of similar head-on collisions taking shape in Spain and Portugal. What very few people in the mainstream media are willing to mention is that the most spectacular examples of borrow-and-spend economics are not little countries on the economic margins of Europe, but Britain and the United States. It’s anyone’s guess when investors will begin to realize that neither country has any way of paying back the gargantuan sums both have borrowed of late to prop up their crippled economies; when it does become clear, the rush to the exits will likely be one for the record books. -JM Greer
I think investors are aware of it. Look at the skittishness on Wallstreet yesterday. Any spark at all, any sign of economic retreat is met with a frenzy of selling. Maybe they aren't saying it out load yet, but I think they know. Your average citizen knows it. Ask anyone, they'll tell you we owe too much, spend too much and have made systems so complex that those systems are unsustainable. It's the governments that can't seem to do anything other than be horses asses.

I say, let's not wait for the governments to figure out a solution. They never will. Let's find our own ways, local ways to weather the crisis and go ahead with those. That's where the Riot 4 Austerity group comes in. I can figure out how to lower my fossil fuel usage by 75%, with those solutions, I can teach my neighbors what I've learned, and it'll be applicable because they live in and deal with the same set of systems that I do. And the more we can disconnect from those complicated systems to meet our daily needs, the more those complicated systems become unnecessarily and can be done away with.

I'm working on getting base lines for our new house and I hope to have those up soon, along with goals and new plans. ;-) I know, you're all looking forward to it. :-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gardening with the Podling

Rowen has been my garden buddy since he was 2 months old. Last year he mostly napped or sat on a blanket in the shade, watching clouds and cars and me. This year he is a sturdy 1 year old and is no longer content to sit on the sidelines. He's sure he knows the drill by now and demands to be included. If I'm putting seeds or plants in pots, he has to have a pot with soil in it too. If I'm pulling weeds, he goes around and pulls the leaves off of whatever is within reach. He adores dirt and growing things and just being outside.
I know some people have to convince their kids to join them in the garden, but right now my only problem is keeping him in a baby friendly zone of the garden. I have to make sure he's not near fragile seedlings, or pulling out my plant markers. Other than that I mostly let him do what makes him happy and just clean it up afterwards.
Here's him helping me pot things. He took all the dirt out of that little blue pot twice while we were out there. :-) Had a fair share of it on himself before I brushed it off to take the picture.

Right now I have a couple of pots that I'm keeping empty for him to play with, and I have a corner of the garden that isn't planted yet where he can roam free wrecking baby havoc on the clover and dandelions.

Sometimes I pile my weeds up near him so he can 'sort' them for me. :-)

He often picks up things and holds them up for me to see what he found. I'll tell him the name of it and he'll look at it and then pick up something else to be named. I like this game, and I'm hoping it's helping him to learn words for things. We also talk about the things we can hear while we're in the garden, and the things we can see in the garden. It's a lot of fun seeing a garden through a baby's eyes.

Check out the blog roll at KinderGardens, link on the right side of the blog. All summer you'll see posts from me about gardening with Rowen. My posts will join others and the best blogs will get prizes. :-)