Monday, June 9, 2014

Accidental garden/Science/How my garden compensates for my poor homeschooling skills

We are home from a super fun trip to Sequoia National Park and I'll stop at that because, One Hot Mess is on Thursdays, not Mondays.

But what else, whhhaaaaat else?

Oh, yeah, my weird garden!

Good thing Cari started a link-up about gardens or how else could I justify a post such as this?

Guys, did you forget? I'm super good at homeschooling? I even had a fancy interview about it.

Science. Do you want to know what I've counted for Science since my days of homeschooling began a long, long, long 2 years ago? Do you want to know what you should count for Science for forever? A garden. You're welcome, you're welcome.

Here is our garden sitch, complete with perfectly mottled brown/green grass:

(6 weekish ago con Spiderman)

(now con a few heatwaves)

We don't have a huge backyard and we selfishly have hoarded most of it for socializing purposes, but, we do have 3 raised garden beds and some unfinished spots of dirt here and there in which weird things grow and I don't know why or do anything about it.

Last year the garden was basically an overgrown hell-hole by September and I never thought it would recover or be lovely ever again. I'm the type that tends to think that whatever is happening right now in this very moment is what will be forever and always, amen. It's a curse. (Anyway, back to September.) I remember bemoaning the fact that we had wasted any space on a garden, and we will never have another one like the first and how ugly and whine whine blah. But, what do you know? Spring rolled around like it always does and one day I weeded and another day I mulched and another day we seeded and what do you know? It happened again.

This year we started mostly everything from seed, in old seed trays, and then we transferred to the beds. I like to order seeds from here and I subscribe to this. Which is fun and comes recommended.

Last year we planted right into the beds and lost most of our seeds to who knows what and this year most of them sprouted. Accept for the damn Sugar Snaps. What the hell, Sugar Snaps? I bought six-packs of those and felt like a cheater (you are not a cheater if you do this, do not be like me).

I hope*** to rotate crops and reseed as production stops instead of just letting it grow into a wild and terrible tangle like last season. Here's to goals!

So, anyway, currently...
bed 1: zucchini, crookneck squash, kale, carrots, beets, broccoli rabe, thyme, lemon verbena, mint, weeds and accidental pumpkin (?!).

bed 2: green beans and sugar snap peas, arugula that has already sprouted, bolted, and been donated to the chickens, (salad greens going in next), accidental pumpkin (?!)

bed 3: 4 varieties of un-staked tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, chamomile, last years strawberries going strong under the chamomile and a mystery plant, perhaps cucumber (I hope).

I like to shroud our nasty chicken coop with natives like salvia and lavender. It both distracts from the chickenland and attracts bees and hummingbirds. Double winsies. Everything is coming up so nicely this year because I took a smarter-than-me friend's advice and chopped everything down to the nubs in winter.

We also have some pretty little figs and apples just starting to grow. Maybe this year will be the magical year when Johnny stops pulling all the green anything. Maybe not...

Guys, I'm not done yet. Hang on.

My very favorite (besides the chamomile which wins for prettiest) is all the weird, accidental stuff. About 4 giant tomato plants have started to fruit in different places in the yard. I have no idea what type or how or why. Maybe throwing tomatoes against the wall, maybe seed spitting, maybe secret planting? Anyway, I'll take it. We also have a (I think) watermelon, and not one, not two, but three pumpkin vines.
(here is one of the accidental tomatoes amongst the cigarette butts behind our firepit area*)(*so gross why I am even admitting this)

I love the kids getting the experience of watching the world come to life all around them. Sometimes because we tried, sometimes because we didn't try. I love the excitement that comes from finding a new baby veg that's grown from the mystery plant we have been trying to figure out for weeks. I love how when we got home from 3 days of camping they ran straight to the garden to check for any new growth. Science. I'm telling you.

Another one of my favorites this year is our milkweed. We planted milkweed for the first time this year with hopes of attracting Monarch Butterflies (they only lay eggs on milkweed, did you know that?) Anyway, I will be the first to admit that I totally didn't believe that it would work and guess what? I did. We have three baby hatchlings and they are cute and exciting



  1. I love being away from the garden for a few days and seeing how amazingly it has grown in my absence! I'm one who goes out to check on the buds on the plants in the morning, and then in the afternoon, and then after the kids go to bed... So being forced to wait a few days is always kind of magical!

  2. SO IMPRESSED. I wanted a garden this year, but we haven't started one soooo ... next year? Last year, we had an accidental tomato plant take root in a rock bed next to our house. I think it flew over from our neighbors garden! Anyway it got huge and produced so many tomatoes even though I did not to a thing to take care of it. I'm a big fan of accidental plants.

  3. Hurrah! :0) you win all the homeschool mom/gardening prizes! :). A friend told me that the "accidental" plants are called "volunteers" in garden lingo...isn't that fun?!

  4. I love it! We have has mixed results with our gardening attempts the past few years. This year we're trying square-foot gardening, with pretty good results so far, though we're in Wisconsin so our stuff is still just barely starting. I am totally planting milkweed next year!

  5. I am a firm believer that gardening can count for an entire day of homeschool. Math (if I have 2 packages of pumpkin seeds, with 20 seeds in each, and 3 cell packs holding 6 seeds each, how many pumpkins will we get considering they require 170 growing days and we live in Connecticut which will have first frost 150 days from now, and why do they name this cultivar of pumpkin "Connecticut Field Pumpkin" anyway?), English (compose a haiku about why mommy always weeps whenever somebody wants to grow pumpkins) Geography (how far from Connecticut is California, which is the land of glorious pumpkins growing from volunteer plants?) etc. etc

  6. So beautiful! I'm jealous. We either have the worst soil or we are the worst gardeners. Our garden has been our spring homeschool science for the past 4 years and I'm pretty sure the only take away the boys learned is that if we had to survive on our gardening skills we would have died back in 2010. We had a tomato plant last year with 2 tomatoes. When you account for the cost of dirt, containers, water, seeds, etc... those tomatoes were worth their weight in gold.

  7. I would totally count my garden as science if I could ever get anything to grow. Which is a science lesson in itself.

  8. Milkweed is a good, natural beauty treatment for warts on the face and neck


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