Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gardening with Kids: Plotting Out the Garden and Seed Selection Revisited

The seed catalogs have taken a little rest, but are still ever-present on the dining room table where every meal is consumed. There is a hint of apprehension in this next step, because I am a former math and science teacher and it requires graph paper. To be honest, this is my chocolate and I need to break it into pieces and share.

Step 1: Measure the Beds
Now, I know the measurement of our beds, of course, but the Little Man gets to measure. As I was gently picking grass and weeds out of the beds, he approached with the huge tape measure and a smile. "I was trying to scare you Mom", this is his latest entertainment which has added a few gray hairs to my collection. So, I asked him if he wanted to be the "holder" or the "walker" and I knew the answer before he did. I placed the tape measure at the end of the bed and told him to start walking and to tell me the number when he reached the end of the bed. This may seem like a straightforward request; it was not. He walked past the end and measured to the left, then the right. I assured him it is more accurate if the tape measure is straight and we only measure the area where there is dirt. For some reason, this deflates him. Egos are gentle things. After he accurately reads, "96 inches" we talked about how many feet are in 96 inches and where we could see that on the tape measure. He's back. We measured the short side and the other two beds, could we measure him? Of course. 44". Yikes. And Mom? 65 1/2...I hold on to that half. He grabbed the tape measure and set off measuring everything in sight as I tightened up the netting around the beds. Enough for today.

Our measurements: 4x8, 5x18 and 5x15

Step 2: Graph Paper
I use two squares to represent each foot and I like straight lines. After two attempts with grunts and sighs, I decided we should each have our own copy. One bed per sheet of graph paper.

First, I divide the bed into 1'x 1' squares and I have my companion gardening list handy.

My next step it to divide the bed into usable areas. I know where my summer squash and peas will live and the semi-shady spot where my spinach loves to grow. Slowly, but surely, we start to fill in the squares. It never fails that our "Dream Seed List" is longer than our garden space will provide.

Step 3: Serious Discussion
It is time for a family meeting. How much are we willing to build on to the garden this year? We have decided that we will add an artichoke bed and clear out some Spirea to create some more cloche space and the Good Apple says he wants to plants some corn. I say, "We will see" on this one. Lil Man wants to be guaranteed sunflowers. Ok. It sounds like we are going to have an incredibly busy spring.

Next up...our seed list is coming!

"If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."
~Rachel Carson

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


  1. I can't wait to hear what seeds you pick. My husband spent all day yesterday planting 45,ooo carrots!

    1. 45,000 carrots!?! Oh my goodness. Please tell me he is a carrot farmer by trade. My jaw just hit the floor.


Thank you for sharing your feedback, questions and comments. The back and forth is what it is all about! If you would like to leave a link to one of your posts, follow this format in your comment and it will be a hyperlink.