Earth Day 2014 – Teaching Children to Respect the Earth and its Environment

Earth Day 2014 - Teaching Kids to Respect Our World and the Environment

In today’s world, parents are beginning to see the importance of teaching their children to respect our earth and the environment. After all, children are the ones who will inherit the planet and will be responsible for it in the next generation. It makes sense to teach them how to respect it, especially in this day and age of pollution and other environmental concerns.

How can you teach your kids this important concept, even now on this day, April 22, 2014 – Earth Day? Here are some ideas.

Grow a Garden

Learning a bit about where food comes from is an important piece of education that too many children miss. Gardening teaches children about the cycles and seasons of nature, the work that goes into food production, and how the environment affects your gardening efforts. How weather affects your garden may instill a healthy respect for Mother Nature.

Responsible Camping

Taking your kids camping is a wonderful way to get them out into the natural world. As you do, teach them about the responsibilities involved in camping, such as the proper technique for extinguishing a campfire, and how to carry trash back with you out of the wilderness area. If you see trash lying about in the area, point it out to your kids and note how it spoils the landscape.

Bird Watching

If all you do is put up a bird feeder and identify the avian visitors, it’s a step in the right direction. Your children may really get into bird identification and want to read more about various species. Look online and see if you can identify bird calls, and get a good field guide to help your kids find out which birds are visiting. They may want to read about various birds’ migration patterns and habitats, too.

Natural Foods

Consider implementing a natural diet in your family. This is just another way to foster an appreciation for nature and her gifts, and it may inspire your kids to preserve those small farms and sustainable agriculture that brings them such foods.

Explore Environmental Careers

See if you can arrange a tour of a local factory or plant, and ask them to show you all the environmental protection measures they have in place (such as filters on smoke stacks, or proper disposal techniques for chemical waste). This may inspire your child to go into such a career, or may simply help them appreciate what goes into caring for the environment.

All of the fore mentioned ideas can help your child build appreciation for the earth and its environment, even to day April. 22, 2014 Earth day. For more information visit the Earth Day Network | Earth Day 2014 at www.earthday.org .

You can get other ideas to help earths environment at  Organizer and Activist Resources: Earth Day Event Ideas (Earth Days Organizer’s Guide).

Visit a web-site curtsy of Disney (12 earth day crafts) www.spoonful.com

 

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How to Plant a Vegetable Garden in Four Easy Steps

This is the fourth post on Vegetable Gardening with guest speaker Judith Sorg. If you missed the first three please link here to read.

Now for -How to Plant a Vegetable Garden in Four Easy Steps – with Judith Sorg.

If you love to cook, learning how to plant a vegetable garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do. When you grow your own garden, you can harvest fresh seasonal fruits, veggies and herbs as you need them instead of having to drive miles to the nearest grocery store. It just doesn’t get any fresher than that.

Here’s How to Plant a Vegetable Garden in 4 Easy Steps:

simple garden layout

Example of a simple garden layout
image credit: vegetablegardenplanning.net
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Step #1. Decide What You Want to Plant. This is the fun part. Start by making a list of all the recipes you frequently make. Note which vegetables and herbs you use over and over again, because this will tell you not only what you should plant, but also in what quantity.

Don’t forget to jot down other items your family enjoys, even if you aren’t using them in your cooking currently. Growing your own vegetable garden is a great way to expand your culinary horizons.

This planning phase is a great time to get your children interested in gardening, too. Ask what they might like to grow or make fun suggestions if they are too young to come up with ideas on their own. Pumpkins, ornamental gourds and sunflowers (for their beauty and seeds) are popular choices with kids of all ages. Fast growing plants, such as lettuce and beans, are also great choices for children because they produce noticeable results quickly.

Once you’ve made a list of plants you want to grow, collect mail order catalogs, search online or stop by your favorite garden center to find seeds and transplants. You can learn a lot about what grows well in your area by tapping into these resources, as well.

Step #2:  Pick a Location for Your Vegetable Garden

Just like in real estate, planting a successful vegetable garden is all about location, location, location. If you want your plants to thrive, there are a couple non-negotiable items you will need to provide:

Vegetable Garden in Four Easy Steps with sunshine1. Sunshine. Pick a sunny location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

2. Water.  Make sure the location you choose has easy access to water. You will need to water your plants whenever Mother Nature refuses to cooperate, so make sure you have a convenient source of water nearby.

3. Accessibility. Gardens need care, so position your vegetable garden in an area that is convenient to get to with the tools you need to work in it. If you place it too far from the house or garden shed where you keep your tools or in an area difficult to reach with a wheelbarrow, you may find yourself tempted to neglect it.

Make your life easier and plant your garden in the most convenient sunny location you can find.

4. Good Drainage. You may have to do some work for this one, especially if you live in an area with heavy clay or compacted soil. If you find the area you want to plant tends to collect standing water, you will want to build your beds up to protect your plants from overly wet feet.

Step #3: Create Your Garden Beds

Once you’ve identified where you want your garden, you will need to decide where you want the individual beds within it. As you are doing so, keep in mind the orientation of the sun throughout the day because taller plants or those growing on trellises can cast damaging shadows if they aren’t positioned correctly.

To create the individual beds, many old school gardeners swear by the traditional practice of removing heavy layers of sod, then tilling and amending the soil beneath it before planting your vegetable plants.

Although this method will certainly work, you simply don’t have to work that hard.   Instead, you can use the Lasagna Gardening method of building your beds UP instead of digging down to create them. This methods works equally well with raised garden beds or directly on the ground.

compost needed for gardening in four easy stepsTo get started, add flattened cardboard or a thick stack of newspapers on top of the ground and then add alternate layers of peat, topsoil, aged manure or barn litter, organic mulch, yard clippings and/or compost.

You can either prepare these beds months in advance or right before you plant. Either way, the layers will meld together into a beautiful, rich soil for your plants.

For more details on this no-dig gardening method, check out Lasagna Gardening, a New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens.

Step #4: Start Planting!

Once your beds are ready, it’s time to start planting!

Before you start digging, you have some choices to make: you can sow seeds directly into the soil, start seeds indoors then harden them off outdoors before adding them to your garden, or plant established transplants you’ve purchased directly into your prepared beds.
Some plants require direct sowing, while others need to be started indoors several weeks before the frost-free date in your area in order to perform well. While you are creating your list of plants you want to grow, make a note of the growing requirements for each so you can give your plants the best chance of survival.

If you decide to follow these four easy steps to plant a vegetable garden, you will be rewarded all season long with an abundant supply of fresh and healthy produce. Plus, you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing you did it with your own two hands.

Next will talk about: “How to Build Raised Vegetable Garden Beds.”

Return for Judiths next garden discussion March. 17, 2014.

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