Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Daytrip to Burpee for Seeds

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

We are so lucky here in Southeastern Pennsylvania that we live only about an hour from the Burpee Seeds headquarters.  Ok, well, I’m lucky because I adore perusing and picking out seeds, my dear husband could care less.  In fact he laughs at me and shakes his head when I get all excited in January when the new seed catalogs arrive in the mail. 

Of course, the joke’s on him, because my obsession has rubbed off on the kids…ha!

So the four of us (the three kids and I) headed out to the Burpee Outlet store the other day….it was wonderful.  Hundreds and hundreds of vegetable and flower seeds to choose from.  But I behaved. 

We only spent a little over and hour there, and I used some self control and only bought 6 different types of tomato seeds (I get ever more excited about tomatoes, and have been known to try 10 different varieties in a season.)  And we only spent $56 which included some flower seeds for Makenna (really, they weren’t all mine.)   And ok, ok, I will admit, I had already bought a few packs at Home Depot a week ago

It is a sickness….I admit it.

But seriously, if you live not too far from Warminster, PA and like planting a garden, the Burpee headquarters is worth a trip.  All the seeds you could imagine, and all at a discounted price!

Monarch Butterfly Cocoons

Friday, August 21st, 2009

An update on the monarch caterpillars that we introduced you to the other day

We consider these fascinating creatures our babies for a few weeks each summer. 

Five are currently in cocoons.  Six are hanging in their little ‘J’ shape ready to turn into cocoons, and the rest are happily eating all the milkweed I can find.

The two guys pictured at the top were the first two to go into cocoons a few days ago.

It takes them about 10 days to emerge as beautiful monarch butterflies, so these two should be out by late next week. 

We’re so excited.   

We’ll share plenty of pictures when they hatch.

Pressed Flower Art

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

This spring we went to a local craft show where Makenna was fascinated by a display of pressed flower art.  In the past we had pressed some leaves and flowers but we never did anything with them.  She was excited to find out you could actually make stuff with them.

So here it is August, and we finally got around to making some of our own art.

We picked a bunch of leaves and flowers and put them in some big books for 3 weeks.

Then we spread some of our flowers and leaves out to make it easier to choose them for our art.

We arranged them onto some cardstock, and when we had a design we liked, we spread modge podge on the paper and gently pressed them down.  Then covered the whole thing with a final coat of modge podge.

We really liked the way they turned out and it kept the kids busy for 2 hours and wasn’t too messy.  We’ll be picking more plants to press today.

What we learned.

Stick to thinner flowers and leaves.  Nothing too puffy.

Our favorites actually turned out to be different types of leaves from some flowers and bushes.  They had interesting shaped and various shades of green.  I just loved the variegated hosta leaves.

For more ideas on pressing flowers check out these links.

Elizabeth’s Flowers

Mom in Madison

Compost, Recycle Food and make your own Super Soil.

Friday, May 8th, 2009

This is our compost pile, or in today’s terms I can call it our recycled food pile.

It’s the oldest of two, that I’m using to put in all my plants this year.

It’s not a pretty site; but I’m always amazed at how ‘food garbage’ that I would’ve thrown out turned into this whole big pile of super soil that will make my plants grow really big.

 The current pile sits next to it.  Full of banana and apple peels, coffee grounds, watermelon rinds, cut grass and other stuff.  The kids are always fascinated.  “That makes soil?” is always their question.  As if, ‘are you kidding, mom?’

There are alot of great sites out there to learn about composting in your own home.  It’s something that is very simple to do on a small or large scale, depending on your situation. 

Our piles are simply big piles with fences around them, soon to be hidden behind a few blueberry bushes, because my parents have them in a location I can see directly from the house. 

We don’t do anything to the piles, although if you turn the stuff over with a shovel once in a while it will decompose faster.  And every so often we have a surprise tomato or watermelon plant popping up.  A compost pile is really little work with a big payoff.

So ‘recycle your food, save your scraps and make your plants very, very happy.

Starting Seeds in Recycled Containers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

 We started some zinnia seeds indoors today.  

Starting seeds has to be one of the neatest science lessons for kids.  Learning all about plants, and to keep it really green, recycling milk cartons too.

We cut our milk cartons in half and then Makenna poked holes in the bottom so our little seeds don’t get water logged.  Asking Jarod to jab holes in anything with a scissors seemed like a recipe for disaster.

Next we added our soil.  We happened to have potting soil around, but have used soil from the yard in the past.

We put in our seeds.

Covered them with a 1/4 inch of more soil and then watered them.

Then we put them in their own little ‘greenhouses’ (plastic food storage bags) to keep them moist. 

We recycled a milk carton and a plastic milk jug as our containers, but I prefer the cartons because the cardboard is sturdier than the plastic, and you can fit two containers of the cartons in one bag.