I have several friends who are always asking me, “Kris, what do you do with your kids in the summer time. You have so many, how do you keep them entertained?? ”
First off, if the Sun is out… then the TV is OFF!This is something that I implemented years ago. I don’ t want my children to turn into couch potatoes. I have 4 that I homeschool and 3 that are in public school. We homeschool to the school year and take time off in the summer of formal school. That doesn’t mean that we are not schooling. There are so many different things that you can do with your kiddlings that I am going to touch on different around the house activities and projects throughout the summer.
START A GARDEN!
Gardening what we can eat is a major thing in our house. We have 3 acres where we live and I know that many people don’t have land like that that, but, why not try a container garden if you don’t have room for a larger one in your yard. Gardens do NOT have to be big, and they are REALLY REWARDING. Kids LOVE to eat the food that you grow.
Nothing tastes better than fresh produce that you grew and harvested. With my kids, they know that their hard work will lead to a FANTASTIC meal. Last night we had swiss chard harvested less than an hour before to eat with dinner!!
Tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos (green tomatoes) grow GREAT in larger pots on your patio. Remember that you do need 2 tomatillos for them to produce fruit. Your entire herb selection is great to grow in pots around your yard. Every year, we plant basil, chives, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley and dill in pots around the yard. Many of those pots I found at yard sales. Mint is also a really good grower – just make sure that you plant it in a pot if you don’t want it to spread!!! We use mint in our summertime-drinks (I have a kid mojito recipe that will be a hit – will post that soon)
If you have a wire fence, try planting seeding sunflowers (so that you can tie them up), green beans or sweet peas. Throughout the summer, I NEVER see peas come into the house. The kids will pick them right off of the vine and eat in the garden. Sunflowers are fun because after you harvest, you can feed all of those little birds in your yard with the seeds.
Are you worried about weeds???… you are reading this post because you have kids right? They each have two little weed-picking hands. At our home, we make it into a GAME!!! Any weeds in our garden feeds our chickens. Even my 5 year-olds can both pick weeds!! We have a 15 minute timer that we use. 15 minutes a day gets all of those garden weeds down. If you are having a container garden, your weeds will be limited.We use the weed pulling time as family time and we ALL go out an pull!!!
So you have never planted a thing in your life? Guess what neither had I, until my parents moved to Arizona and started me on gardening. Now that this gift was introduced to me, I haven’t stopped. We have a LARGE garden that produces enough to feed my family of 9 in the summer and to can many items to use throughout the year like relish and salsas. But, remember to start SMALL! You have to have enough time to weed, water and tend your garden.
For a patio garden, you will need several larger pots…. no I am not talk 1Gallon… I am talking 5 gallon or larger! Potting soil and either plants or seeds. We start all of our plants by seeds but you can pick up plants at any hardware or discount store in your area.You will also need to fertilize your plants. I use GOATALYZER. (yep, goat poo is awesome and natural!) We try not to use any chemicals on our garden… Do I really want to eat things that kill bugs? I don’t want that in my body! Here is the website for goatalyzer – www.GOATALYZER.com
This year, I even invested in a greenhouse so that they seedlings weren’t taking over my kitchen and dining area. The greenhouse ran about $1000. It is 8’x6′ and has a sunshade, shelves and a ton of extras that we picked up. It took 2 days for Larry and I to put together. You can build your own or even just use your windowsill to start your seeds early in the season!
We started tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, brussel sprouts, tomatillos, butternut squash, cucumbers, zucchini all in the greenhouse this year.
We start our peas, onions, carrots, sunflowers, turnips, lettuce, radishes, chard, and spinach directly in the ground. We have them in a 4×4′ and 4×8′ plots in our garden. We have plots built from both railroad ties and from blocks.
Each garden can be built in order to fit your families needs.
The main bulk of seed that we are using, my dad’s shop is carrying. I am SO THRILLED with how many came up and are nearly ready to harvest. I only buy non-GMO and and non-hybred so that I can use the seeds from year to year right out of my plants. Our watermelons and sunflowers from this year are off of watermelons that we grew last year and we saved their seeds!!
So, I want to end this with HAPPY GARDENING!!! I hope that you can have a successful summer with your kids outside together.