Gardening with Kids

Re-Blogging an awesome article on children in the garden…


Gardening With Kids

Gardening with Kids

Gardening with kids will give you an opportunity to not only spend quality time with your children, it also presents many teaching opportunities. You can use the garden as an example to teach important life lessons that they might not learn anywhere else.
If your children express any interest in gardening, make sure to encourage it. Set them up with their own little children’s garden, and help them with it, or plant some rows in your garden with them. In turn, they will probably want to help you with your garden throughout the season.

Depending on their age, help can mean different things. Remember, the younger they are, the shorter their attention span. When my daughter was 2, “helping” meant helping dad plant about a half row of beans then playing in the dirt and asking about 7,000 Daddy, why… questions, while daddy finished planting everything else. That being said, the “help” gets more helpful each year.

Gardening with Kids – Plant Some Fun

Gardening With Kids

Plant “fun” stuff when you’re gardening with kids. They are fascinated with the out of the ordinary, really small, really big and really strange.

Miniature tomatoes – Currant tomatoes are about the size of a pea and come in red and yellow. Cherry tomatoes come in red, yellow, black and purple. Pear tomatoes are basically cherry tomatoes with an unusual shape and can be found in red or yellow. All of these are very sweet and have very intense tomato flavors.

Popcorn or Indian Corn – Both of these grow just like sweet corn. The only difference is that you’ll let the ears dry on the stalk before picking them. Home grown popcorn makes for an interesting and fun winter snack. Indian Corn can be used for Fall decoration, or it can be ground to make cornmeal – which makes awesome cornbread with multicolored flecks. If you have a local farmer’s market, you and your kids could get a booth and sell popcorn and Indian Corn if you grow enough.

Pumpkins & Ornamental Gourds – Timing is important if you’re planning pumpkins for Halloween & Thanksgiving decorations. Count back the number of days to maturity from Halloween, add about two weeks and plant seeds then. Keep in mind these vines take up a LOT of space. Gourds and pumpkins are also good candidates for a fall farmers market booth.

Peanuts – They may have a long growing season to mature, but are fun for kids and parents alike. Peanuts grow on the roots of the plant underground. Plant them out as early as you can if you live in a northern climate. When mature dig them like you would potatoes. Roast peanuts on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300°F for about 20-30 minutes, stir them occasionally. With the right equipment you and your little ones could even make your own peanut butter. Cool!

Ornamental or uniquely colored peppers – These little gems are so varied in shape and color they can’t help but fascinate the kids. They are often harder to find than standard bell and banana peppers. Unless you have a really good nursery close by, you may have to start them yourself indoors from seeds purchased from a seed catalog. Most ornamental varieties of peppers are too hot for most people to eat, so make sure that your little helpers know that.

Yard Long Green Beans – These interesting beans are vining varieties and need some trellis to grow on. They produce bean pods that can reach 36 inches long. Most kids have a blast picking these and showing them off to Mom & Dad or Grandparents! Break and cook them just like you would any other green bean.

Giant sunflowers – The bigger the better! Some varieties can develop blossom heads up to 24 inches across, and grow up to ten feet tall! Several of these will produce a huge amount of sunflower seeds, which can be roasted in much the same way as peanuts.

Flowers – There’s nothing wrong with planting some annual flowers along with the fun vegetables. Most kids enjoy the variety. Marigolds, Zinnias, and Amaranth are fun to grow, and also make really neat bird food in the fall and early winter. Finches, sparrows, and other seed eating birds will come and eat the seeds if you don’t mind letting the stalks stand dry and brown for a few weeks after everything else has been harvested.

There are plenty of other fun things that you can plant when gardening with kids. Use your imagination. Look through seed catalogs with them. Let them help pick out what you’ll plant in the coming year. The more involved you keep them, the more likely they will remain interested long enough for the pay-off…

And the Pay-off for Gardening with Kids is…

Kids are curious

Aside from the obvious skills a child can learn, gardening with kids offer opportunities for you to teach some important life lessons that your kids can carry with them long after they leave the nest:

Self Reliance – When they grow up they will be able to grow their own food. What an incredibly powerful skill and source of self confidence.

Self Worth – When your kids help you harvest a garden that they helped you plant and care for all summer, they get a feeling of having accomplished something important with their own hands. Make sure that you let them know that you are proud of them, and that you appreciate their help. A little praise will go a long way.

Responsibility – It doesn’t take long for your kids to realize that those plants depend on them for care. An untended garden quickly reverts back to it’s wild state. You can use that one aspect of their life to illustrate how responsibility applies not only to themselves, but also to others (pets, family, friends,and garden plants).

Patience – From planting to harvest takes a long time time – even longer when you’re a kid. This is a great chance to teach them that not everything in life is fast food, and immediate gratification. Some things are worth waiting for.

Healthy Eating Habits – Your kids are far more likely to eat vegetables that they helped plant, tend, and pick. If you garden, you already know that home grown vegetables and fruit taste so much better than vegetables bought at the store.

Financial Responsibility – If you do take your kids to the farmer’s market to sell their surplus produce, you have a perfect teaching opportunity when it comes to the money they make. Teach them that they have to keep so much back for next year’s seeds and why. Let them spend some of their earnings on something they want. If they make enough, help them set up a savings account for college, a car when they’re old enough, or some other big ticket item.

An Appreciation for Growing Things – Gardening with kids lets you introduce them to nature and growing things. You can teach them the basics of ecology, biology, and an understanding of how the weather affects plants and animals. You don’t have to be a college graduate, teach them what you know. If you don’t know something they ask about, look it up with them. That in itself is a lesson too.

…and the biggest one of all… Developing a deeper relationship with their parents. Time spent together is quality time. It doesn’t have to be gardening, any productive activity is a good activity. My daughter and I also go fishing together as often as we get a chance to. That kind of quiet time together opens lines of communication that might otherwise remain closed. You can have that with your kids too. Just find something that you are both interested in, and spend some quality time doing it.

Gardening with kids can build strong bonds between parents and children. Your kids are a gift that you only get to keep for a few years before you have to let them go. Adulthood comes quickly. Use the limited time you have with them to teach them important life skills and habits they don’t teach in school. Raise ’em right.

To find the original post follow this link:

Gardening With Kids.


Concerns For our Garden

After talking to our fellow parishioners on Sunday, I’ve been asked a few questions and brought up concerns about our Garden’s success.

“Having a realistic expectation of the resistance that we will face, will help us to set up the correct routine and stick with it. If we run with patience the race that is set before us, God will give us the strength and grace to continue. John of Sinai also wrote, “All who enter upon the good fight, which is hard and close, but also easy, must realize that they must leap into the fire, if they expect the celestial fire to dwell in them.”

As we all know- Gardens are not an easy undertaking. I hope that we can prepare ourselves and realize that this is a learning experience. This year will be full of triumph and defeat. We need to remember to bear with it all- and know that our efforts will not be without their rewards! Here are a few concerns that have been voiced, and our Garden Committee’s response to these concerns.

Gopher Problems

As you probably know- Bakersfield has Gophers. There are many ways to keep them out though. The ways we’ll be choosing to deal with them will have to be natural and organic. A few options for solving this problem are as follows:

Lay “underground fencing” material to prevent them from digging upward into our produce area.

Placing Gopher deterrent “sound stakes” around the Garden to make them leave.

Also there are some “natural” poisons that can be used carefully to deter them.

How to keep our Garden as Organic as possible?

A few ways to keep things Organic- not introducing chemicals, finding ways to keep pests under control naturally by using soap sprays, and predator bugs. Preventive measures can be used to try and keep our Garden’s own ecosystem in balance.

That’s a part of the big reason why we’re having a Garden Party in December! If we start the Garden’s soil off with the right Organic Organisms then the Garden can do a lot of the work itself. We’ll be using Organic Fertilizing methods, compost etc.

Rodents, Kit Fox, and Squirrels

We can either offer them food far away from our Garden, or take measures to deter them trough traps, fencing and mesh. One of the big reasons why we need a lot of people involved in our Garden- is so that we have help with resolving these issues as they arrive.

People will be needed to research and execute our solutions on a regular basis. we also have to prepare ourselves for small disappointments. Our Garden may not be perfect this year, but we’ll be learning from it and growing in our concepts and knowledge on the best ways to Garden. We probably won’t be able to keep every animal influence out of our Garden, but with God’s help it will survive and produce!

Organic Pest Control

We covered this a little bit above. We’ll be using predator bugs, organic sprays, and plants that deter bad bugs.

As well as providing healthy organisms in the soil to combat things naturally. Our leaves may not be without a few holes, but hopefully we’ll still see the benefit in our vegetable production.

Ongoing Parishioner involvement

We’ll need people helping maintain our garden on a weekly basis! There are a few of us already dedicated to it, here on the Garden Committee, but when we become ill, or need a few extra hands to lighten the load- we’ll be calling on your strength and expertise to help us manage a successful Organic Garden!

Setting boundaries/Rules

We’ve already set a few rules, that you can review on our Garden Guidelines page, but as the needs arise we will be adding to our experience and growing wiser about our boundaries.

Possibilities of Damage to our Gardens by outside sources

It has been mentioned by a few people that often our little Church will be broken into from time to time- people vandalize our plants and our Hellenic Park is not always safe from this. Sturdy fencing is crucial, but let’s keep an open heart and a trustworthy mind.

If God allows us to go through some turmoil it’s for our own good that we keep our patience and NEVER give up!!! Turn the other cheek, and keep going. When God sees our efforts as resilient, He’ll reward us for our patience and persistence! He’ll give us a bountiful and precious Garden to which we can use to the Glory of his name, if this is His will.

Will people Steal our Produce?

This goes along with the above question. Possibly! they may steal it. But isn’t half the point of this garden to provide for those in need? If they need it then God will be their judge. We’ll just keep at it! Blessings will come back to us!

Is this Garden “for REAL”? Or is this just someones idea of fun?

Yes, we’re very serious about this Garden. We really would like to see it succeed. Let’s do this TOGETHER! Let’s accomplish this without giving up half way through the year, when temperatures get hot, or we run into bumps in our gardens growth process. We want see this through. And we will. 😀

Leave your comments, thoughts and concerns about the Garden. This shows how much you care!

The Tradition of an Advent Wreath

Advent is the 40-day period before Christmas which is devoted to preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

It begins on November 15th and extends to December 25th. It is a period of fasting, prayer, alms giving, scripture reading, church attendance and participation in the sacraments to capture the full meaning of Christ’s coming.

A very effective way of celebrating advent in our homes is through the use of an Advent Wreath. One can begin by purchasing a Wreath in which there should be placed space for seven candles(one for each week of  advent). In assembling the wreath, parents can explain the symbolism of each part. The circle (wreath) is the Christian symbol for God who is eternal. The ever green branches symbolize eternal life, or the life of God, of which Jesus came to make us partakers.

The candles represent Christ who is the light of the world. The color of each candle expresses something special that will be discussed each week of advent as the family celebration unfolds. One candle will be lit each week by a different member of the family.

First Sunday of Advent

The Candle is Green to express Faith. The time begins with the lighting of the first candle by a member of the family. As this is done, the Father, or Mother begin by saying: “The first candle reminds us of Faith; the faith we have in God that He will keep His Promise to send His Son.

Scripture: the Prophecy from Isaiah 9:2; 6, 7; 40:3-5; 52:7

Discussion: God kept His promise to send the Messiah. What other promises does God make? Does He keep them?

Second Sunday of Advent

The candle is blue to express Hope. Lighting the first two candles(green and blue) family members recites: “ The second candles reminds us of our Hope we have that Christ will come again this year to bring new joy into our lives.”

Scripture: The Promise from, Luke 1:5-31  

Discussion: Christ came to bring joy and to make our joy complete. How does He bring joy to our hearts today?

Third Sunday of Advent:

The color is Gold to express love. Light the three first candles and say: “As we light the third candle let us remember the words of St John when he said ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son’.

Scripture: The Annunciation to the Theotokos in, Luke 1:26-38

Discussion: Talk about the life of St. Nicholas (celebrated Dec. 6th) who was known for his great generosity in distributing gifts and money to the poor. How can we follow his example this Advent?

The Fourth Sunday of Advent:

The color is White to signify Peace. Light all four first candles. Recite: “The fourth candle reminds us of the Angels message to the Shepherds. ‘Peace on Earth good will toward men”

Scripture: The Journey to Bethlehem in, Luke 2:1-18

Discussion: Is there someone who has something against us? Do we have anything against someone? Whom do we need to forgive? Prepare the way. Forgive and be forgiven.

The Fifth Sunday of Advent:

The color is Purple to signify Repentance. After all the five candles are lit say “This candles reminds us of our need to repent before we can meet the coming Christ. “Repent the Kingdom of God is at hand”

Scripture: Prepare the way for our Messiah, Mark 1:1-8, 14 and 15.

Discussion: What is the meaning of true repentance? Let us prepare ourselves with self-examination, and agree on a time to go as a family to confession before Nativity.

The Sixth Sunday of Advent:

the color is Red, to signify Holy Communion. Review the last five candles, Faith, Hope, Love, Peace, and Repentance. Then say “The sixth candle reminds us of Christ coming. Who came in Bethlehem, who will come again at the end of time, and who comes to us now through communion.

Scripture: The coming of the Logos, John 1:1-18. His coming today through Holy Communion, John 6:52-58

Discussion: Talk about Holy Communion. Why should we take Holy communion?

The Seventh Sunday of Advent:

This candle should either be a Large White candle of your Paschal candle representing Christ. Light all seven Candles, review their meanings. Say “ For unto us a Child is Born, unto us a Son is given and His name shall be called Wonderful.”

Scripture: The Christmas Story, Luke 2:1-7

Discussion: talk about Christ’s coming. Ask each person to share what Christ’s coming means to him/her personally.

Make A Living Wreath!

Tutorial on How…

We’re Re-blogging this awesome Tutorial from “Hostess with the Mostess”

you can find the original tutorial here: Click This Link

How to Make a Living Wreath

by Kim Foren of Geranium Lake Flowers

1. Start by sourcing a wire wreath ring. Check garden and craft stores or online. The ring needs to have a round three dimensional shape with 2 top rings and one lower ring so you can properly plant your plants. I usually use a 12-14 outside dimension.

2. You will also need wet potting soil and soaked sphagnum moss for your potting medium.  For the plants, make sure they have 3″ of roots so they can be pressed into the ring and not fall out.

3. I start by massing all the plants together and work my way around the ring being careful to fill ring with soil, moss then my plant material. {There’s a fantastic video tutorial on this part of the process here.}   It works best to keep your wreath flat while working. After it’s completed, water well and let the plants take root. Leave it flat for at least a week.

4. Once plants have settled and taken root you are free to hang it up!  For watering in the summer, I often either soak in a utility sink or soak completely with a hose.

Experiment with all kinds of succulents (hen and checks, aloe, echeveria, kalanchoe to name a few), spring pansies, annuals works great and even cherry tomatoes for a living edible wreath!

This Wreath is the Perfect Gift for Nativity!

Or make one to Donate towards our Garden Fundraiser!

HOW TO: Making Felt Wreaths

Cubit’s Organic Living! we LOOVE this website!

It’s full of fun articles to read, great photos, How To’s and Inspiration! We’re re-blogging their How To: Make Felt Wreaths!

Click here for the full Instructions with pictures!

If you haven’t heard, we’re making Wreaths of all shapes and sizes to sell here at St. George Church to raise Money for our Garden! Wouldn’t THIS one be fun to try!?

Whether the the Wreaths are made of real pine tree branches, silk flowers, or felt- come bring your homemade creations to Church and benefit our Garden Start up!

Gardening As Charity


Christ is in Our Midst!

Since Today marks the Saturday before our Mission/Vision Sunday event, we thought it was appropriate to share our Church’s current focus, developing Mission and Vision Statements for our growing parish!

St George Garden was an idea developed through the Charity Committee, in order to expand on our efforts to provide help through Time, Talents, and Treasure!

Our hope is that you will join in our efforts to create  a source of Beauty and Charity, by participating in our Gardening adventures!

Everyone is welcome in the Garden! Young and Old!

Please find your place in this awesome Project, Sing-up in person this Sunday November 4th, or here online(find our Events Page/Registration) to stay in touch with our Gardening Committee and learn about all our needs and events.

Mission Statement

The mission of St. George Greek Orthodox Church is to preserve, practice, and proclaim the Orthodox Christian Faith in order to glorify God, and to grow and serve the Parish and the community.

Vision Statement

The vision for the future of St. George Greek Orthodox Church is to be a Parish where:

  • We all actively participate in the life of the Church and grow in the Faith. (Education)
  • We connect and communicate within and outside the parish community to promote the Faith. (Outreach)
  • We express our Faith and Christ’s love through the offering of time, talents, and treasures. (Charity).

  • We have a growing Stewardship Program and Endowment Fund to ensure the success of the Parish for future generations. (Legacy)

Thank You again for your Support!!!