It’s so lovely to finally see the blooms of spring and our kale, swiss chard, and peas sprouting in the garden. I guess they don’t mind being covered in a foot + of snow! Last year by this time we were enjoying these lush blooms. It is taking a bit longer this spring, but love to see this new life begin. The photo above is a black swallowtail butterfly enjoying our wild bergamot last summer.
I recently read this article on the monarch butterfly and their decline sadly due, in large part, to genetically engineered crops and herbicides. We have slowly added in native shrubs and flowers to attract butterflies and it’s so great to see them around the background during the summer. Take a look at some of these beautiful wildflower palettes below by Landscape architect Piet Oudulf for a little inspiration on planting a butterfly garden or maybe just a few milkweeds. (view more images here on Scott Weber’s pinterest board).
Here is a great resource from the Missouri Department of Conservation for ideas on Native Plants for your landscape.
This last image is the High Line in New York, where Oudulf designed native plantings for the public park built on the elevated historic freight line above Manhattan’s West Side. What a fantastic blend of nature within the city.
If you would like to add more native grasses and wildflowers into your landscape a favorite local sale of mine for buying wildflowers and herbs is the John Wornall House annual herb/wildflower sale, coming up on April 27th. They have a great selection from the Missouri Wildflower Nursery. Also, the Prairie and Wetland Center is a fantastic resource for finding native plantings and seed mixes. Would you like to know more about why growing native plants is so important? Here is a great explanation. Also if you do not live in Kansas City, here is a great resource for finding native species to plant in your area.
Enjoy planting some natives with your children and provide a welcome habitat for birds and butterflies.
I don’t know about you but we are more than ready for these juicy tomatoes to grow in our garden again!! Below I have listed some favorite local Kansas City transplant sales that supply organic, or incredibly healthy and sustainable transplants to grow in your garden.
Gibbs Road Community Farm Transplant Sale | This Saturday, April 13th
The Bad Seed Market Transplant Sale | April 19th
John Wornall House Wildflower and Herb Sale | April 27th | This is a favorite one for native plants and wildflowers.
Kansas City Food Circle | List of Markets with food grown using organic practices
Your Neighborhood Market KC | a new resource for finding farmers markets in your neighborhood
If you are on Facebook it is also a great idea to become a fan of pages like the KC Food Circle and Your Neighborhood Market KC to get updates on market schedules and great information about the local farmers that are working so hard to grow healthy food for us!
Please share any of your favorite places to buy your garden transplants and if you are not in Kansas City I encourage you to seek out your local farmers that work hard to get these transplants started for you. I have found that they are always more than willing to share growing tips with you too.
Tomatoes were the highlight of the garden this year and up until a week ago they were still outdoors and going strong. Now the green tomatoes are ripening on the counter and the heirlooms taste even better than they did during the summer. We’re really enjoying the last bit of fresh tomato goodness and it’s all THANKS to my dear mom and my children. On her visit with us they all went out to the garden and picked the last of them before they froze. I do love the garden help when I can get it… they are a lot of work, but so worth having fresh food from the backyard!!
Last night we savored BLT’s with the sweet heirlooms and I’m anxious to make some simple pizza sauce and these oven roasted tomatoes using the fresh rosemary and thyme, that are still outside being very resilient to the cold.
so… goodbye tomatoes … until next summer!
We’re delighted to have our Children’s Nature Kit and our Children’s Organic Garden Seed kit included in the Gardening Collection on the Felt and Wire shop. Take a few moments to look at all of the other lovely gardening and nature inspired products featured in the collection too.
The past week our family has been savoring the first days of spring soaking up all of the changes in our neighborhood and the woods behind our house as new life sprouts and takes shape. Many of these photos were taken hiking through the woods in our backyard, a place that is so dear to us, and is a source of abundant inspiration and learning. Some of our favorite early spring bloomers are the redbud trees, paw paw trees (that produce a fruit that tastes like a blend of mango and banana) wild ginger, and celadine poppy, which all are native to our region. I like planting native trees and plants because they are naturally supposed to be growing in our region which makes them very easy to maintain once they are established. A favorite source for learning about native plants in Missouri and Kansas is Grow Native . Another great source for finding native plants in all regions is Plant Native.
The weekend was also filled finishing up final touches on our garden fence and starting a spring garden of bok choy, a variety of lettuces, sugar snap peas, regular peas, spinach, and potatoes and checking in on the blackberry and blueberry plants that were planted last year in the hopes of picking at least a handful of fruit this summer.
It is so rewarding for me to grow my own food and know exactly where it is coming from and to watch my children happily pick, prepare, and eat what they have grown and cared for. It makes all of the hard work of gardening seem so worth it! It is certainly not too late to start your spring garden and I would love to hear about your family’s garden adventures too.
Happy first day of spring! Microgreens are usually what we grow in our windowsill in the winter to get some fresh green goodness, but they can certainly be grown any time of the year. I wanted to share them with you because they are such a simple way to introduce children to growing food since the sprouts appear in a few days and they can be harvested in 10 days. Typically they are used as a garnish, but I have found them to be a perfect introduction to leafy greens for children. The options are endless. Sprinkle them on vegetables, salads, sandwiches, eggs, or smoothies.
Directions for growing your microgreens
1. Use a large serving platter or container at least a couple of inches deep. I use two platters that are around 15”x15” and use one for a mild seed blend and the other for a spicy seed blend.
2. Fill container with organic soil. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil trying not to layer them and cover lightly with more soil.
3. Water lightly every day and they are ready in about 10-14 days. To harvest simply cut off the tops of the green leaves with a kitchen scissors.
simple! simple! Now sprinkle them on your food to add an extra boost of nutrients.
If you harvest the microgreens around 10-14 days be sure and use a fork and rake out the roots to get the soil ready for the next round of seeds. Using a container with drainage holes is certainly fine too, but I have been planting ours in trays with no drainage holes and they have been fine as long as you remove roots before reseeding.
The seed mixes I use are from Growing Microgreens and I usually get the mild mix which includes Broccoli, Kale, Kohlrabi, Arugula, Red Acre Cabbage & Cauliflower and the spicy mix with the same seeds + mustard seeds for additional spice. They last for many, many rounds of microgreens.
Enjoy! – Julie