Tuesday, April 27, 2010

kinderGARDENS week 2

Last week I wrote about a new children's gardening contest started by Kim over at the inadvertent farmer -- the kinderGARDENS "Let 'em get dirty" contest. The idea is to create a wonderful garden space with and for children, to celebrate the earth together and grow a place of magic, whimsy and of course, fun!

So here's our plan. We've got a small field on the north-west end of our property that is fronted by the road and a line of trees on one side and then rows of cedars and tamarack trees on two other sides.

Technically, it's a hayfield, but it's a pretty small one and since we have 10+ acres for cutting, we decided we'd start planting our fruit trees here. As it'll take years to create an orchard, we've still got a lot of open space that was simply left to grow. Until now.

Last year, hubbie put up a small teepee and covered it with ugly blue tarp. The kids loved playing in. I loved the kids playing it in but I hated the ugly blue tarp. Yes, tarps can be very useful but they're not particularly eco-friendly. I also have an aversion to blue tarps in particular since finding tiny shreds of one all over the vegetable garden after the previous owners buried one in the place that's now our compost area. Let's just say it's really, really tiresome to pick millions of tiny pieces of non-biodegradeable blue tarp out of vegetable beds.

While the blue tarp was removed from the teepee last fall, the skeleton remained, standing like a sentry in our front field.

When I asked the kids what they wanted to do for their kinderGARDENS project, we started talking about some of the things they loved growing in our first garden from last year -- morning glories, said Jack, those giant green beans, said Ella.

Well, there you have it: the perfect makings of a bean teepee -- a living hideaway where the kids can play, read, snooze -- even snack! -- under twining vines and lovely flowers.
We'd also planned on growing a traditional three sisters garden this summer with corn, more beans and squash (or perhaps pumpkins... maybe both!) but we didn't know where to put it. Now we do -- one bed on each of the four corners of the space we've cleared around the teepee. And between the three sisters gardens -- sunflower walls, of course!

We may try to build a really simple twig fence around the perimeter of all of this. Or maybe not. It all depends on what the kids want to do. I've decided I'm not going to fall into my usually trap of making uber-ambitious projects, giving myself two hours to finish them and then wonder why I'm left frustrated and discouraged.

This time, I'm shelving my type-A self and allowing the kids to take the lead.

This time, instead of focusing on the end result, I'm just looking forward to the journey.


Erin said...

Yay, type A's unite! It will be fun seeing how well we can handle those empty spaces in their gardens where they didn't space their seeds perfectly, LOL! A bean teepee sounds wonderful! And thanks for my Henry "fix"!

inadvertent farmer said...

That is awesome that you already have the frame work done...We have empty fields here too but the elk tromp through and what they don't come through the camel does so we are working in the garden proper that is already fenced from the critters!

Can't wait to see it when it is all grown up! Kim

David said...

Fiona, that's so cool. A living bean covered tepee is a perfect play place for kids. I was just thinking about building a trellis for pole beans to climb all over. It would be a functional decorative thing for the patio. It looks good in my mind, but sometimes when it gets put to construction it turns out different.

Spring is always a busy time with new life in plants and animals. I hope all the new life on your farm enriches all your family’s days through out the days ahead.

inadvertent farmer said...

I just put both of your link up on the link party...if you can't do it in the future let me know and we'll do it that way! It only takes me a second so no worries I would love to help out! Kim

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Love it! Can't wait to see it as it grows! I've done these and the kids and I love it. I think gardening is so much more fun this way!

fiona@fionacampbell.ca said...

Erin -- you're welcome! And I've got another Henry fix coming soon :)

Kim -- I so LOVE that you have a camel! The frame needs some sprucing up but it'll great with green stuff all over it (and not that blue tarp!) And THANK YOU for your help with the link! Hopefully week 3 will go smoother :)

Hey Dave -- go for the bean trellis! Even if it turns out different, maybe it'll be better than what you imagined (I just have to learn to take my own advice, of course!!)

Rebecca -- thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear your kids loved the teepee. Mine are pretty excited!

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