The Garden Corner

The Garden Corner by Sharon Allen Another New Gardener!

My second grandchild appeared on the scene March 7. Caden weighed in at a hefty 9 pounds 13 ounces. Both he and his four month old cousin, Addison, are thriving. It is great fun watching them grow.

I can hardly wait to buy garden trowels for my grandchildren! There are many different ways to nurture children's interest in gardening. First of all, I think that children are naturally attracted to soil. On the other hand, soil may be naturally attracted to children.

Perhaps a spot can be set aside in your flower or vegetable bed for your children or grandchildren. There are many seeds large enough for them to handle (sunflowers, peas, or beans). You may consider directing their garden toward a butterfly garden by sowing flowers for nectar such as zinnias or marigolds.

Parsley, fennel, or dill seeds are smaller but the plants are a source of food for butterfly caterpillars. Another idea is to let the children plant things that they enjoy eating. Tomato or broccoli sets and potatoes are easy to plant (either dig the holes first or guide the children). Another idea is to use large plants such as willows, corn, or sunflowers as living forts.

A friend of mine created an apple orchard dedicated to her children and grandchildren. On a warm summer day, the child (when 1 or 2 years old), a small

apple tree, and buckets of water were wheeled out to the developing orchard.

Together the parents and child dug the hole, placed the tree, returned the soil and watered the tree in well. As you can imagine, the child was covered with as much soil as the tree was, so the ceremony was concluded with a bath for the toddler in a bucket of water.

A wooded plaque with the child's name and date of the planting was placed in front of the tree.

Bits and Pieces

Starting in May, I will be offering gardening classes in Sioux Falls at the USDSU campus one Saturday a month for five months. Topics are Perennials A to Z, Container Gardening, Encouraging/Discouraging Critters from Your Yard, Accessible Gardening, and Plant Propagation. For more information or to register, please contact 605-367-5640.

It is time to get a jump on spring by sharpening garden tools; cleaning up winter debris; planting bareroot trees, shrubs, and roses; propagating new plants; rejuvenating your soil; and planting early crops (radishes, peas, lettuces, onions) when the soil is dry enough to work. I love spring!

Written by Master Gardner Sharon Allen. For answers to gardening problems, write to Sharon Allen at 110 North Plum Street, Vermillion, SD 57069, or email her at sallen@usd.edu

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