Category Archives: Gardening With Children

Savoring The First Strawberries

Although nothing beats eating sun-warm strawberries straight from the garden, these enticing fruits lend themselves to a wide range of treatments, from sweet to savory. After eating a few day’s worth of naked berries, I’m ready for a few classics. For many years, my family has celebrated the start of local strawberry season by enjoying strawberry shortcake for dinner. There are, of course, many versions to try, but after a fair amount of playful experimentation, I’ve plumped for these light, flaky, slimmed down shortcakes, which gain flavor, fragrance, and a tender crumb from whole wheat pastry flour.

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

Berries:
6 cups strawberries, hulled & quartered
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup

Combine in a bowl and set aside to macerate for at least 15 minutes.

Cream:
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1-2 teaspoons sugar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Whip cream to soft peaks, add sugar and vanilla and whip for 10-15 seconds more. Set aside.

Shortcakes:
2 cups whole wheat (or any) pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon cardamom or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR coconut oil
3/4 cup milk (almond if not cow)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and blend for 5 seconds. Add butter and process for 10 seconds or until evenly distributed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in milk, starting with 1/2 cup, adding just enough for the dough to form a ball (not too sticky). Pat into four rounds 1/2 inch high and bake at 450 until golden (12-15 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes, then split in half like a bun, using a fork, and fill with berries and cream. Serves at least one. Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Gardening With Children, Growing Berry Crops, Planting & Transplanting, preserving food, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gardening Without Plastics

Print PDFReplace plastic with reusable woven row cover cloth Because Every Day Is Earth Day Plastic. Say the word and someone will start talking about Dustin Hofmann and The Graduate. Actually, that used to be a typical response. Now, the … Continue reading

Posted in Garden Prep, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Planting & Transplanting, Recycling Nursery Plastics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Of Beans And Bees

Similarly, children who are allowed to play and explore in a garden setting are likely to become lifelong gardeners themselves. Perhaps the best way to engage children in gardening is to begin not with chores but with pleasurable projects. Small children love to help and they delight in working closely with adults. Find a space where enthusiastic but unskilled garden activities won’t wreak havoc with your main crops and invite the kids in. The result may be the most important seeds you ever plant!

If more than one child will be in the garden with you, find a spot for each child to make their own. Toddlers will love a space that combines a sandbox and digging tools with a bit of planting ground. My grandson’s sandbox, which can double as a fire pit with the addition of a large metal fire bowl, is full of dinosaurs and dump trucks, with kale and carrots on the side. A short hose (drinking-quality) with an easy-to-use spray nozzle provides endless pleasure in watering plants, filling buckets, and occasionally soaking an unsuspecting granny. In a tiny garden, give each child a huge tree pot filled with sand (for playing) or soil (for growing). Tiered strawberry and lettuce planters can fit on the smallest deck or terrace, and many edibles can be grown in vertical gardening structures and containers designed to hang over fence railings. Continue reading

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Saint Patrick’s Day, Or Maybe Not

Print PDFOf Lilac Leaves And Planting Peas When I was a young gardener, I recall being told that the proper time to plant peas was on Saint Patrick’s Day. It stuck in my mind because I learned this bit of … Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Gardening With Children, Planting & Transplanting, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , | Leave a comment