Urban Sensory Garden

Homeschooler, How Does Your Garden Grow?

urban garden

With spring just around the corner, my thoughts are turning to the garden. We live in the city, so we have a tiny backyard garden and we need to make the most of our space. In the six years that we have lived in our row house, we have had some variety of garden just about every year.

I love having a garden. It gives us an excuse to get off technology and get out side. I have a secret. I like playing in dirt. I love running the dirt through my fingers and breaking up the clumps.

I even enjoy finding knotted worms

knotted worms

and funky snails.


What I really enjoy is planting things that my family can eat. The most common things that grow well in our garden are tomatoes, snap peas, and beans.

It is time to dig out the garden/seed bucket, develop a plan with the kids, and then get outside.

  1. Have you planted your garden yet?
  2. What kinds of things do you plant in your garden?
  3. Do your kids help you?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Are you doing a garden this year? We are going to make an effort to do a garden again this year.  It has been hit and miss since the twins were born, but they might just be able to understand it this year (they are turning 3 in May).

I thought it would be super fun to do a garden where the kids can participate fully and I don’t care to much if it gets destroyed. At least we’ll start there and see how far we get. Five kids, small backyard, lots of mud… could be fun?

One of my main goals besides getting things planted that we can actually eat will be to make the backyard look a little prettier.  We had the addition of the unsightly heat pump and the rearranging of the garden beds which resulted in a mud pit (which desperately needs more grass seed). We can’t have flowers in the backyard (but we will in the front) due to the discovery that Zion is deathly allergic to bees.

So, all of that to say that while I was wandering around the web recently, I discovered this blog post at Homeschool Java about the HSV Garden Challenge. Since my mind has been on what to do this year for the garden, I had to head over there and read all about their challenge.

We will be hitting the garden very soon (maybe as early as this week if the weather holds out) and I thought it would be nice to have a place to share and get encouragement.

I was also reminded about the Inadvertent Farmer and her kinderGardens posts from last year because I followed from afar via Dawn at 5 Kids and a Dog.

This year I hope to do more than just watch other people play in their dirt. I want to roll up my sleeves (okay, I wear short sleeves) and get my hands dirty (which, oddly, I really enjoy). I hope you will join us as we try to grow some edibles and pretty up our backyard this spring and summer.

So tell me, how does your garden grow?

PS – Check out this awesome resource Gardening 101 and Spring Spruce Up

Major Changes to the Garden

We discovered a few weeks ago that our son Zion is allergic to bees (Around the Brown House) and we had to rethink our garden. Here are some before pictures. The back row is beans, which are way bigger now, and in front of the beans are a few random tomatoes. The right hand corner is rhubarb, which we have picked down to nothing at least 3 times now. The right hand side is peas that are finally growing.

The center section in the rock circle was flowers because it was impossible to weed or pick vegetables in there. Around the rock circle we had lettuce, swiss chard, kale, spinach and other leafy greens for salads and stir fries. There are also a couple of pumpkins that came up all on their own.

This picture is of the left corner of the garden by the gate. There used to be a big rock garden of mostly shade plants, but it was moved.

Here are some pictures of the garden after we made the big changes. This is the left hand corner by the back gate. The rock garden was moved back slightly and is more compact now, but looks great.

Along the back fence our beans are still growing and they are actually 2 feet above the top of the fence now. In front of the beans we moved the pumpkins and the salad greens (lettuce, spinach, etc) and planted them among the random tomatoes that are growing.

On the right hand side along the fence we still have peas, but in front of them, we now have swiss chard and kale.

Now, let me explain what was going on in our heads when we made the changes.

  1. We discovered Zion is highly allergic to bees (and needed to remove the flower garden.
  2. We had a heat pump installed in our backyard that took up way too much space.
  3. We had kids constantly stepping on the veggies.
  4. We were originally going to put our big plastic sandbox boat in the center of the dirt.
  5. We needed more room to play.

After much discussion and tossing around of ideas, it has been decided that the big muddy area will be grass. We discussed seed verses turf and the seed won because it is cheaper and easier to transport without a vehicle.

We already have the grass seed, but we are trying to figure out the best time to plant it.  Do you have any ideas?

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