Friday, May 02, 2008

Vegetable Gardening with Children: How to Plant Potatoes and First Harvest of the Season - Asparagus

While my less-than-half-an-acre suburban lot is primarily a flower garden, I do enjoy growing the vegetables and herbs for which I have room. A few years ago, I visited the working organic farm at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts and learned that it would take approximately one acre to feed my entire family of seven for the year. Thus, rather than trying to feed my family, the vegetables and herbs primarily provide an opportunity for my children's participation and education. We get to organically prepare the soil, plant the seeds or seedlings, and then harvest the results. Further, we get to plant heirloom varieties that are otherwise not available. In terms of yield, we produce enough for the occasional amuse-bouche or side dish. To satisfy our need for organic and locally harvested produce, we shop at the local farmers' markets in Chatham and Summit from June through November.
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Last week, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, it was time to plant our seed potatoes. This is a perfect activity to do with children, or if old enough to handle a sharp knife, something that the children can do by themselves with some adult supervision. First, our son (age eight) prepared our seed potatoes (purchased from Seed Savers Exchange) by cutting them into one inch pieces. Second, we cured them cut-side up for three days to prevent them from rotting in the soil. Third, we planted them an inch-or-so in the raised vegetable bed with the eyes up.
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Three years ago, we planted our first asparagus crowns (purchased from the Cook's Garden) around the outside of the Children's Garden. This weekend, we got our first harvest--three big, beautiful stalks of asparagus (pictured). The kids were so excited to cut the asparagus (about one inch above the ground), roast it, and then eat it with dinner. In the coming weeks, we'll have more to harvest.
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Related posts: Ten Tips for Planning a Children's Garden, How to Build Raised Vegetable Beds, Old Farmer's Almanac Spring Planting Schedule

8 comments:

Michael Nolan said...

I've been reading your site since I came across it a couple of hours ago and all I can say is "wow"! That's quite a statement from a freelance writer who is never at a loss for words!

Hope you don't mind that I added you to my Blogroll!

heirloomgardener said...

Michael,

Thank you so much for the compliment--I'm glad that you've enjoyed your visit; I look forward to checking out your blog.

-Heirloom Gardener

Sara said...

Great blog. I've never had any luck with vegetable gardening here in Florida...there are just too many critters looking to interfere. I love the previous post about your front yard redo. It looks lovely.
Sara

heirloomgardener said...

Sara,

The fight against the critters never ends. If you don't want to fight, plant what the critters don't like--herbs, garlic, onions, etc.

-Heirloom Gardener

Karen said...

Love your blog! I was searching for sources for "Betty Corning" ( one of my plants didn't survive winter - in Chatham, NJ!) and came across your site.

I'm inspired to better organize my garden spaces. We'll see how the growing season goes!

Marie said...

I love your blog! What I have found to give insite for most gardening questions of any sort is the attached website.

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synthetic grass said...

Teaching the kids to help in vegetable gardening strengthens your relationship and also helps them appreciate the vegetables. They will surely eat what they have planted.

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