It's Time to ...

Let children plant seeds of their favorite flowers or vegetables.
Let children plant seeds of their favorite flowers or vegetables. (WALTRAUD INGERL / istockphoto.com)
Posted: May 17, 2014

Get your kids into gardening. Let them pick out their favorite vegetables or flowers, as either seeds or potted plants. Larger seeds are easier to handle. Have kid-size tools and work gloves that fit them. You can get them involved in weeding, but be patient while they learn the difference between weeds and seedlings. Let the kids get dirty and investigate bugs and worms. Avoid pesticides, especially where they garden. If you don't have space for an inground garden, plant in containers.

Rejuvenate your container garden. Check the containers used last year. Some may need to be replaced if they're cracked, or if the plants growing in them dried out too quickly (plants in plastic or glazed ceramic containers usually need water less frequently). It's good to refresh the soil, but you can save money by replacing only the top half. This works for most plants. If you have the urge, but you think you have little or no space for a container garden, you only need a deck, balcony, patio, front step or even a windowsill. Containers should have enough holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain. Choose plants with the same light and moisture needs. Arrange plants in container so there's enough room for growth. Add soil, and water well.

Dig and divide your bulbs. You can turn a good-size clump of bulbs into more blooms for next spring. While the leaves are still green, use a pointed shovel and dig deep and wide enough to remove one or more sizable clumps. To transplant, dig the holes to the same depth the bulbs were growing in the original spot. Add a handful of bulb fertilizer and cover with a shovel of composted leaves or kitchen scraps. Put the bulbs into the hole, fill with soil, and firm the surface with your hands. Water the area well. Don't worry about how mashed-up the leaves look. They'll be disappearing soon enough.


Patricia Schrieber is director of education for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) ( www.phsonline.org), and co-owner of Valentine Gardens ( www.valentine-gardens.com).

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