Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Children's Garden Week

Roberta at Growing with Science Blog is celebrating Children's Garden Week with fun posts everyday, and has invited us to join the celebration.  Since I am often accused of being a child and I do love gardening, I wanted to add to the fun.  Roberta started the week on Sunday's post giving an overview of what to expect throughout the week, and asked if we were pining for Spring and leafing through seed catalogs?  Yes, and YES! I am excited to start a new garden in a completely new climate since we moved to Connecticut last Fall.  This is the first winter in a northern state and it has been a cold snowy winter.  And while it has been fun, I am ready to put seeds in dirt.

I want to share for Children's Gardening Week is this wonderful image of the Food Web of a Compost Pile from a booklet produced by New York State called Ecology of Compost.  The booklet is just 12 pages, but is a great introduction to starting and using a compost pile.  It was printed in the seventies before the internet.  I've found some great gems among those old pamphlets.
I've done compost related activities with kids.  One of those activities was looking through mostly broken down compost searching for critters.  The kids had a great time finding sowbugs and rolly pollies, earthworms, millipedes, tiny mites, and beetles.  Compost it so cool.  I loved my old compost pile in Texas.  I saw butterflies, weird flies with patterned wings, beetles, larvae, millipedes, lizards, and opossum tracks.  Since our compost was more than 200 ft from the house, I didn't try to keep bigger animals out.  I liked seeing the recognizable vegetable scraps turn into broken bits.  I also enjoyed seeing what took the longest to break down.  Broccoli stems, corn cobs, and mango seed pits lasted the longest for me.  Pumpkin, cucumber, and other water-filled squash disappeared in a day or two, but that was in hot, thirsty Texas.  I feel bad because I didn't start a compost pile last fall and have been throwing food scraps in the trash.  I want to get one started after the ground thaws and get that micro-ecosystem going in my backyard.

I have several garden and insect themed posts in the blog archives that you may also enjoy.