Have you ever heard of companion planting? Native Americans grew certain vegetables together because they benefited each other during their growing cycle. Start a gardening project that includes plants that will benefit each other during their grow cycle.
Check out the related posts below for more information about the Three Sisters.
To begin your gardening project, find out when your last frost date will be:
Then, find a place to plant your seeds or plants directly in the ground, or in a container or a bucket. Put drainage holes in your bucket, or learn how to plant in a self watering container.
The Three Sisters are: Corn, Beans, and Squash
You can decide to grow:
Corn: A type that can be cooked and eaten off the cob, ground up into a meal, or used to make popping corn.
Beans: A type that grows as a bush, called a bush bean, or a type that climbs called a pole bean. There are types that can be picked and eaten fresh and others that need to be shelled.
Squash: There are many varieties of squash available to grow. You can try a vining variety, such as pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti, acorn, watermelon (part of the gourd family),or cucumber.
Another type of squash “bushes” such as zucchini, where the plant grows wide and large, but does not vine out. Fruit is grown close to the main stem of the plant. Yellow crookneck is another squash that bushes.
Learn more about planting a garden so you know when to water, how much sun your plants should have, and how to take care of pests and other problems naturally.
While you are waiting for your veggies to grow to maturity, look up some delicious ways they can be enjoyed.
How can these little cups be reused in fun, creative, and interesting ways?
You will want to collect a whole bunch of cups, with and without holes, for this project.
No K-Cups? Use a small Dixie cup, bathroom cups, or disposable shot glasses for the following challenge ideas.
Here are your challenge areas, choose as many as you want…try them all if you can…
Make A Game – Think about how one cup or a few cups can be used to make a carnival type game or a guessing game. We made a stacking cup game with ours. Try to create an opportunity to collect points or use a scoring element. Don’t forget to write down or draw instructions if you need to.
An Organizer – Can you think of a way they can be put together to help organize something small? How can they be used for something larger?
A Craft – Make a simple or complicated craft.
A Musical Instrument – What kind of instrument can you make with a K-Cup or two?
Gardening Tool – How can a cup or two be used as a gardening tool?
An Experiment – There are lots of cool experiments that require small cups, see if you can find one, or make something up on your own.
Bird Feeder – You may need to put a few cups together for this.
A Puzzle or Brain Game – How can these cups be used to create a puzzle or a brain game?
A Magic Trick – There are lots of DIY magic tricks you can do with simple household objects. Make one up if you can too!
A Flower – How can a cup be turned into a flower?
Hint: This may require a scissor.
Something of Your Own Choosing – Take a minute or two to look at a small cup and allow your imagination to go wild. There are a great many things these little cups can be used for. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and draw or write down any ideas you may have. Don’t worry if some of them are silly or complicated.
Tip: Use the holes to your advantage whenever possible.
Some of the extra things you may need for this challenge:
Rubber Band – Clear Wrap – BBs or Beans – Bottle Tops – Old Rice – A Die (or dice) – Seeds and Soil – Chopsticks – Ping Pong Ball – Cardboard Box – Playing Cards – Hot Glue – Bird Seed – Craft Supplies – Paper – A Small Ball – Scissor – Baking Soda & Vinegar – Permanent Marker – Small Hole Punch – Twine or String
What you’ll need: The chart provided below, printed out, or paper and pencil, a calculator, a website, book, or another source of spring flower names
What to do: Choose 5-10 of your favorite spring flowers (common or scientific names) and figure out the number value for each word.
If you need a little help with Spring flower names, Names of Flowers can help you out, but feel free to look for names on your own via other websites, books, and any other resources you want to use. If you did the Wildflower Project, many of those flower names can be used.
Begin by writing down your flower choices. If you use lined paper, rather than the chart provided below, you will need 3 line: One for letters, one for their number value, and one to leave blank so letters and numbers do not get mixed up together.
Next, either print out the chart provided, or make your own letter to number values.
Often times, A=1, B=2, C=3 is used, but you can use A=26, B=25, C=24, or you can use any values you want.
Write the name of the flower you want to figure out the value of, then write a number value under each letter. Write the total value on the value line.
When you are done, compare the name values.
Which one has the highest and lowest value?
Does the longest word have the highest value?
Does the shortest word have the lowest value?
Do any have the same value?
Copy and save the Flower Values graphic below and print it out if you want.
As the weather warms up, and nature starts to awaken from its slumber, the beauty of the season begins to burst free. Much of that beauty is reoccurring in the form of wildflowers that can be found on the roadside or in private and public gardens. If you enjoy the colors and smells of Spring, you may find these activity suggestions inspiring enough to grow something on your own.
#1 As wildflowers bloom on the roadside, in your yard, in public gardens, or in your neighborhood, take pictures, and then spend some time learning how to identifying them.
#2 Collect different types of wildflowers when possible, make a flower press, or learn how to preserve them. Think of some ways you can use the flowers: Cards, pictures, scrapbook pages, writing/drawing journal, wildflower identification cards, nature journal, poems, display them in a vase, etc.
#3 Grow your own wildflowers in an selected area, as a garden, or in a planter. By growing your own, you can keep track of what you have planted. Collect seeds at the end of their growing cycle and save them for the next growing season. Label them clearly so you know what you are growing.
#4 Take some time to sit and enjoy wildflowers. Observe the insects and other creatures that come to visit. Take pictures/videos, draw or write about them. What do they do? How long do they stay?
#5 As you learn about the wildflowers you identify, find out how they can be used. Which ones are edible and/or medicinal? Learn about the rules of collecting them in order to ingest them.
For example: You will not want to collect wildflowers on a roadside that has been sprayed with chemicals, or has a lot of car traffic, because they are not edible or usable medicinally. Also, some wildflowers need to be collected carefully and boiled to be enjoyed.
Most public gardens will ask you not to pick or cut flowers.
Tip: Grow your own wildflowers in areas away from the roadside if you would like to ingest them.
If your tree has leaves, or needles, observe how its structure looks and consider how it formed, to the best of your ability. Observe new growth when possible.
Watch as your tree bursts to life with flowers, seeds, and/or leaves. Notice if the flowers have a smell, what the pollen looks like, how the seeds or fruit form and disperse. Notice how the leaves form and grow. Take a fully matured leaf and make a stamp print of it, draw it, or take a picture of it. Back and front.
Observe parts of your tree through a microscope.
Use a small microscope or a magnifying glass to get a closer look at your tree.
Where is your tree located?
Is it close to your house? It is in the shade or full sun?
It is in a neighbor’s yard?
In a park?
What Can You Look For?
Does your tree have buds on it?
Are bugs crawling on it?
Does it have a nest?
What birds visit your tree?
Do other animals live in it or hang out in it? If so, who comes to visit?
How does the weather effect your tree?
What does your tree look like with ice/snow?
What happens when it rains?
What happens when it is windy?
What does it look like on a clear, sunny day?
The more you observe your tree, the more you will learn. As your tree changes with the spring season, notice how it blooms and grows.
Online Puzzle:Herbal Tea– How long will it take you to do this online puzzle?
Mint Sun Tea
In a clean 1qt glass jar with a lid, place 1-2 regular or decaffeinated tea bags in along with a half cup of fresh crushed/bruised mint leaves. Cover with cold filtered water leaving 1 inch at the top. Place the top on the jar loosely, then put the jar in the sun for 2 hours. Remove the tea bags and mint leaves, add sweeter, replace top, shake jar to mix or enjoy as it is over ice.
Making up your own herb dip recipe is easier than it sounds.
Start with a base such as:
Cream Cheese, sour cream, Greek or plain yogurt, mayo
These base suggestions can be mixed or can stand alone.
Add salt and herbs a little at a time…
Salt is an important flavor enhancer and can be added a pinch at a time.
A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice can be nice to add.
Be sure to mix and taste as you go. Sometimes your dip may need a little time for flavors to mingle. If you think your dip is just about where you want it, let it sit in the fridge for a while and try it again before adding more of anything.
Have a taste tester handy such as, crackers, chips, carrot, celery, peppers, etc. to see what your dip may need more of.
If you keep track of what and how much you add, and it comes out really tasty, you’ll have a recipe to follow in the future.
Note: Add some fun twists and turns to your game with the info in this post.
Grow your own strawberry plant. Learn about the different types of berries and decide on the one that sounds good to you.
Find the words hidden in the word search below.
Strawberry French Toast: Make two slices of your favorite French Toast recipe, then while the bread is hot, spread whipped cream cheese on one side, add a layer of sliced strawberries, drizzle honey over the strawberries, then put another slice of bread on top. Top with whipped cream and a whole strawberry and enjoy.
Native Americans called pumpkins, “isqoutm squash”
Recipe: Original Pumpkin Pie (with a modern twist) and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
One of the first pumpkin pies were baked right in the pumpkin shell! A delicious custard was prepared and poured into a cleaned out pumpkin and the whole thing was baked until the pumpkin flesh was tender and the filling completely cooked.
Would you like to make this uniquely interesting desert?
Here is what you will need:
1 5-8 lb Pumpkin
3/4 c Brown sugar
1/4 c Raw sugar
2 1/2 c Heavy whipping cream
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 T Butter
Aluminum foil covered cookie sheet
Preparing the pumpkin:
Cut the top of the pumpkin off and reserve, this will become your lid. Remove the stringy fibers and seeds – save seeds for roasting. Once the inside is clean, scrape out 4 cups of the inner flesh and reserve.
If your pumpkin has a stem, leave it on.
Preparing the filling:
Place eggs, sugars, molasses and spices in a blender and mix together. Next add the 4 cups of reserved pumpkin flesh, butter and the heavy cream – blend until smooth.
Filling the pumpkin:
Place pumpkin on a foil cookie sheet and pour filling into the pumpkin. Do not overfill, leave about an inch of space to allow the custard filling to expand. Put the lid on the pumpkin and cover the top and sides with aluminum foil. Place the cookie sheet in a 350 oven for 2 hours or until custard in done – a metal tester will come out clean.
Allow to cool in oven to prevent splitting. When cool, place pumpkin in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. Pie can also be served warm.
Serving the pie:
Pumpkin pie slice with whipped cream
This unique pie can be served two ways and will feed 6-12 people depending on the size of the pumpkin and the portion taken.
1. Remove the lid (or cut it off) insert a spoon and have everyone serve themselves by taking a spoonful of custard and cooked pumpkin flesh.
2. Cut around the stem of the pumpkin with a knife and serve by cutting slices of the pumpkin. Do not eat the skin.
Add a modern twist to one of George Washington’s favorite deserts!
This pie is not overly sweet and for some, may not be sweet enough, if you find this to be the case, feel free to use any of the following suggestions:
Before adding whipped cream, drizzle with maple syrup
Serve with spiced whipped cream by adding a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to the whipping cream
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
You will need:
Raw pumpkin seeds
Aluminum foil covered cookie sheet
What to do:
Place seeds in a colander and wash in cool water. Shake off excess water before spreading seeds on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet, and lightly salt seeds before placing in a 425 degree oven for 10 -12 minutes or until golden brown. Watch them carefully around the 10 minute mark so they don’t burn. When cool enough to touch, enjoy.
Question of the day:
Pumpkins are one variety of squash, how many other types of squash are there?
South Mountain Creamery: All About…Chestnuts – What is the difference between a sweet chestnut and a horse chestnut? Read this short article to find out! This site includes a variety of ways to cook chestnuts and offers some links for chestnut recipes.
David Ludwig: The Secret to Roasted Chestnuts – This site offers another way to prepare chestnuts, it requires a little extra work, but claims the extra step is worth it because it creates a creamy texture.
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