April Gardening

April always feels like the busiest gardening month of the year for us.  We are harvesting the last of cool season vegetable.  The kids are each eating a small handful of snow peas, a couple strawberries, and a carrot out of our garden each day.  Although they are my daily "helpers," as I look back on the pictures I have taken, they are all of the plants!  You will just have to use your imaginations on how a 2 year old gently pull the peas of the plants by himself (NOT)  A few entire plants have been uprooted with his eagerness to eat his "prize."  I really can't complain as both kids do eat so healthy! 

 In the last couple of weeks, we have planted green pole beans, bush beans, cow peas, and Lima beans. Yes, Lima beans.  My kids and I just ADORE fresh Lima beans right out of their pods. Please don't think we are crazy!  Last year, my tot was only 1 1/2 and he would check the plants every day for the Lima beans and did not want to share.  I promise you, fresh Lima beans taste completely different than anything you can buy in the store.  I will thumb wrestle any family member for the chance to eat fresh Lima beans!!! We don't have a ton of space, but planted a small 2'x5' section and hope to eat a few!  The cow peas were not as big of a hit as the Limas last year.  They were the plant we tried for the first time!  But, it was fun to compare and contrast the differences in tastes, amount of beans in each pod and colors - so we planted them again.   I wanted to get some sweet potato slips in the ground this week, but didn't make it to the store for them.  We haven't grown these yet and chose them as our "new plant" of the year.  Next week!
 The potatoes are growing well.  The nice thing about planting on Valentine's Day is that we always can figure out when they have been growing for 80 days.  They still have a month yet.  We planted 4 containers this year instead of just one and 3 are doing really well.  The fourth is sitting just out of reach of my hose and looked very sad today.  Guess watering your plants really does make a difference =)  I gave it a good drink and will have to make sure it gets more water in the next month!
 And, although I have planted beet seeds every year of our garden (going on 4 years now) this is the first year I have gotten them to grow.  I am so excited and looking forward to harvesting them for some Borscht! Their leaves were attacked by caterpillars last month - check the leaves out in "the bad" section of this post. They surprisingly bounced back after a quick spray of organic insecticide and the new leaves are beautiful!
 Here is one of the garden beds this month.  I like to mix flowers and veggies in my raised beds and have marigolds, mums, peppers, beets, and onions.  It is kind of a weird combo - but you have to remember that I have young kids helping me garden.  If they want to plant something in a specific spot - I don't mind!
 The peppers just started blossoming!  Last year, our peppers lasted almost 9 whole months of production.  We were so sick of peppers we were giving them away to neighbors.  I am hoping for another fantastic crop.  We only plant mild peppers since we have kids.  My mom burnt her hands working with some hot peppers from the garden, and I am nervous to have the kids working around peppers that could possibly do that.  If you have hot peppers where your kids have access to them, please be extra careful.  Some peppers should be handled with rubber gloves!
 My Roma tomatoes are blossoming too!  With the early heat we are having and the lack of freezing this winter, I am predicting that the veggies are going to be hit hard with pests this year.  My first line of defence is trying to keep healthy plants, observing them daily, and hand picking off any pests I see.  Cross your fingers for us that we get any tomatoes.  We are going to need all the help we can get!
 Another section of carrots are ready to harvest! If you missed the carrot post a while back, we love growing carrots, but they take FOREVER to grow.  Planting in succession really helps.  I also limit the kids to 1-2 carrots per day.  This keeps the crop available to them for a long time AND for some reason, setting a limit increases their desire to harvest them =)
 As for fruit - we added blueberry bushes to our yard 2 years ago.  Last year, we harvested a couple handfuls.  This year, it looks like we have doubled our crop.  My 2 year old has reduced it back to a couple handfuls.  He keeps picking the "green balls."  ARGH!  I just have to tell myself that he is learning about the world and that they are just blueberries, but my plants are kind-of-like my temporary children.   I love and care for them daily and would REALLY like them to fruit for us! Maybe next year.

And last, but not least, the cow peas.  Last fall, I posted some pictures and a video of the plant.  They grew taller than I thought they would with long pods.  This year, I was surprised at how pretty the new plants are as I was only remembering the end of the season from last year.  It will be interesting to see how these do! 

What is in your garden this month?

I'd love to hear about it!!!  If you are blogging about gardening with kids - feel free to link up any of your gardening posts here http://theeducatorsspinonit.blogspot.com/p/gardening.html.  Not a blogger?  Leave us a comment here or share with us on our Facebook Page!


Yelena said...

Ah, your garden sounds lovely! We don't have much going on yet. Or rather, lots going on, but not much ready for picking. My son's been enjoying a sorrel leaf here and there and I've been picking fresh mint for teas. The peas are too small yet and so are the strawberries. But our lettuce will be ready later this week. Plus we'll be planting more stuff this week now that the cold weather seems to be over with.

Growing a Jeweled Rose said...

Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous garden!

Amanda said...

Sounds delighful Yelena! I just love the first lettuce of the season! Mint sounds great too. I planted some seeds and the mint never grew, so I just went and bought a transplant. The kids like to make cucumber mint water in the summer!

Amanda said...

Awe, you are too sweet! We were out watering this morning and the kids were harvesting vegetables and making a salad for Papa (they found a patch of lettuce that hadn't bolted yet), the birds were singing and it was cool outside, it was wonderful!!!

Amie (Triple T Mum) said...

It is Autumn in Australia now but already I am thinking about what to plant when Spring comes around, and beets are defiently the 'new plant' this year. I'll be keeping my eye out for those naughty caterpillars! We are still harvesting strawberries in our garden, however, everytime the garden gate gets left open my 14 month old makes a beeline for the patch...hence her nickname Strawberry!

Amanda said...

I planted beets in the fall - they have been VERY slow to grow! I was surprised. Maybe it is just the area of the garden in. YEAH for strawberries!!! My 2 year old just ate one out of the garden a couple minutes ago!

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