Posts Tagged ‘fun spring activities’

Gardening: Your Backyard Oasis

Friday, May 29th, 2020

gardening-your-backyard-oasis

How would you like to create a backyard oasis? Everyone needs more of nature, and gardening is calming for your body and mind. When you sit on your porch, what do you see? With a little effort and a few tips, I will show you how to improve your outdoor space.

Gardening: Your Backyard Oasis (video demonstration)

Make a beautiful haven where you can sit and pray or think about life, and get away from it all. I started filming this video near the end of April, and now it’s the end of May. So I show the progression of the backyard, awakening from the winter, and blooming into the spring and summer.

We also hung lights around the backyard deck for the first time, changing the atmosphere in the evenings to a festive experience, which I will show you by the end of the video.

Vegetable Garden Tips

The first tip for vegetable gardens is to have raised beds so that you can dump really good soil into them. When I first moved into this property 20 years ago, I didn’t know that the soil was not good for growing anything. Not only was it too sandy with rocks (look at the dirt that I’m sitting on in the video), but the 23 pine trees on our property make the soil acidic. Furthermore, most of my backyard is in shade because of the trees.

I love the fact that my backyard looks like the woods. But eventually I realized that the only way to improve my yard was to grow mostly shaded plants. Tip #2 for a vegetable garden, then, is to try to find a place where there is sun. We finally found a place (that used to be a dirt pile) to the right of our deck.

vegetable-garden

Last year we only had one raised bed, as you can see in the picture below. I didn’t know how large the plants would grow, so I overcrowded it. For this reason, even though there were lots of leaves, the plants didn’t produce much fruit.

So tip #3 for a vegetable garden is not to overcrowd the plants. Leave space between the plants. Then the roots won’t be competing for the nutrients in the soil with any other plants, and the sun can shine on all the leaves of each plant.

Tip #4 would be to give the vegetable garden a good watering every day, especially when the plants are young.

Tip #5 is to have tomato cages for the tomatoes, and if you are growing beans or other vines, place the raised bed next to a fence so they have something to crawl up. Next year I might add a third bed next to the chain link fence just for this purpose. This year all I needed was the tomato cages to re-enforce the stems of the tomato plants, so they don’t topple over or break with the wind.

Tip #6 is to pick off any dead leaves that you see. This keeps the plants healthy.

overcrowded-garden

Perennial Garden Tips

At the beginning, the perennial garden didn’t look like much. When removing the pine needles and dead leaves, we saw a few green perennials coming up. (Perennials are flowers that come up year after year.) We trimmed the bushes, pulled some weeds, and amended with good soil. After a month of watering the garden, it looked beautiful!

This perennial garden is right outside the bay window of my dining room, so it can be enjoyed every time we sit down to eat a meal.

perennial-garden

Rose Garden Tips

My rose garden is in the front yard, but I thought I would include it in the gardening that we do. I show you in the video how to prune the rose bushes after uncovering them from the winter. We also put rose fertilizer on each bush. Roses are my favorite flower, so I really love this garden!

rose-garden

The back porch looks lovelier this year than ever, since my husband hung lights on poles bolted down to blocks of cement. (I show you a close-up of the base of these poles in the video.) My husband placed a hook on the top of each pole, and strung white lights. It feels like I am in Europe, where I traveled and lived before I was married. It makes me feel so much joy!

garden-evening

Here are some other gardening posts you might like:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Re-enactment!)

Monday, February 27th, 2017

the-very-hungry-caterpillar

My kids and the small red-headed girl next door re-enacted the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You can make a simple caterpillar sock puppet by hot gluing some google eyes onto a sock. Then have your kids draw, color, and cut out the many foods that the caterpillar eats throughout the book.

One of my sons filmed and edited the video. The small red-headed girl next door read the story, and my daughter played the part of the caterpillar puppet that chewed through lots of food because it was so hungry. At last the caterpillar became a cocoon, and then he emerged as a butterfly!

Take a look at our cute re-enactment of this classic children’s story:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Unit Study

If you are making this into a unit study, you can also do the following hands-on activities:

  • Make a tissue paper butterfly craft (with free printable)
  • Create stained glass window bowls
  • Tie dye coffee filter butterflies
  • Read other books about butterflies
  • Chase butterflies with a butterfly net and identify them
  • Watch a butterfly drink nectar from a flower

You can find instructions on how to make each of these crafts here:

spring-picture-books

Resurrection Garden

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Resurrection-Garden

This easy-to-make Resurrection Garden is a meaningful centerpiece for your Easter table. You make the empty tomb out of self-hardening clay two days before. Then fill a large bowl with soil, place the tomb into the soil, and surround the tomb with plants. You will also want to make a cross out of two twigs tied together with twine.

I originally saw the idea for a Resurrection Garden here, so I thought I would do my own version. Melissa Holt is apparently the one who came up with this idea, using grass or mustard seeds that grew all around the flower pot tomb on the week leading up to Easter. My version takes less time because you don’t have to wait for the grass to grow. You could even put the wet clay straight into the dirt and complete the project in less than 15 minutes.

Items needed for the Resurrection Garden:

  • large bowl or flower pot
  • soil
  • terra cotta self-hardening clay
  • 2 twigs
  • twine
  • plants

Cut a slab of terra cotta clay off the main hunk of clay by using a butcher knife. Form the clay into a ball. Press your fist into the ball to made a cave-like indentation. Make a circle or oval of clay for the rolled-away stone as well. Place both pieces of clay (the tomb and the stone) on top of wax paper to dry for two days.

Fill a bowl or pot with soil. Place the tomb into the soil. Surround the tomb with shade plants from around your yard. Or you can purchase small indoor plants just for this project. Choose leaves of different colors and textures for maximum beauty for your scene.

Snap some twigs to the correct size for a cross, based on the size of your tomb. Join the pieces together with twine. Tie the knot in the back so that it can’t be seen. Stab the cross into the dirt on the side of the tomb. Now your Resurrection Garden is complete.

Edible Egg Nest

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Edible-Egg-Nest

This edible egg nest is easy to make and looks so cute! It is made of dry oriental noodles mixed with chocolate almond bark. In order to make these nests with your children, you will need the following items:

  • chocolate almond bark (1 package)
  • cheap oriental noodles (2 packages)
  • Cadbury’s Chocolate Mini Eggs (or Easter M&M’s or jellybeans)
  • wax paper

edible-egg-nest-2

Melt the chocolate almond bark in a saucepan on medium heat. It will take less than 5 minutes, so keep stirring the whole time so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.

edible-egg-nest-3

When the chocolate is liquefied, break up the dry oriental noodles and drop them into the pot. Stir until the chocolate completely covers the noodles, giving the mixture a nest-like texture.

edible-Easter-nest-2

Now spoon blobs of this yummy chocolate nest material onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Indent the middle of the nests before you put them in the refrigerator to harden fully.

edible-Easter-nest

Allow to harden for a few minutes in the refrigerator before adding the yummy chocolate candy eggs to the nest. Then delight your children by allowing them to eat the delicious edible egg nest!