Today’s garden activities included weeding this planter box, and learning about two types of plants.
In the process of today’s activities, the children are also learning about annual and perennial plants.
Annual plants last for one year or one growing season.
Perennial plants return year after year.
I asked the children to come and see what lived in this box. They looked at each plant growing in the box.
I told them that one of plants in the box was supposed to be there and one was not. We were going to remove the one that did not belong.
Can you find the treasure hidden amongst the grass?
They looked all around, pushing the grass to the side. Finally they found the plants that belonged.
We quickly got to work pulling out the unwanted clumps of grass from the planter box. Dad had seeded the yard last fall, and some of his grass seed sprayed into the planter boxes. It grew very nicely in there over winter and this spring, but it was just about to choke out the plants that were supposed to be in the box. So its stay was not welcome anymore.
Did you figure out the perinial plants that belonged yet? It is strawberries.
Three years ago, we started strawberries in this box. We rented a house and we were not supposed to touch the yard. We missed our garden from the farm so much. So we got these planter boxes and set them on the patio. We grew our garden in four boxes that year.
We planted a mixture of annuals and perennial. We had combinations of vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
We had one box full of strawberries and flowers. One full of herbs and sweet potatoes. One with tomatoes and peppers, herbs and flowers. And the last one had lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, and flowers.
Our garden boxes that year mostly provided us with fresh salads, culinary herbs for cooking and making fresh herb teas, gifts for neighbors, and lots of fun to care for them as we lived in a tiny little house after having just left our farm. These boxes provided a way for us to get our hands dirty so to speak.
A year later we bought a home with a big yard and now can garden as much as we want. But these boxes stand as a reminder of the year we made a planter box garden. Some of the plants still return three years later, such as these strawberries. There is also one with yarrow and some other herbs that return. These plants that return year after year are perennials.
It is so much fun for the children to discover the world around them. Here my eight year old son is pulling the weeds from around the strawberry plants.
We saved some of the weeds we pulled from the boxes for a science experiment. We examined the plants, shook off the excess soil from the roots, rinsed the roots in water, and took a close look at them. Our science experiment using these weeds will be posted here.
We will show you how the finished boxes look in a story posted here.
After weeding, we turned the dirt in the boxes. Next we topped off the existing soil with a little more dirt. Then we re-planted several of the boxes with more annuals and perennials. They look beautiful and the children are so pleased with their accomplishments.
One box remained for strawberries and flowers. Two boxes are full of herbs, lettuce, and flowers. And one other box is full of flowers. These will be lovely all summer long. The box in the bottom of the picture is full of pansy’s planted by my three year old daughter. She was so proud of “her” box. The box that is just above the bottom box has a large yarrow plant that you can see on one side in this picture. It is now three years old and looks lovely.
Do you have any plants that return each year? What ways have you taught your kids about annual plants and perennial plants? Please leave us a comment. Thanks.