Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Windowsill Winter-A Preview of Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars

Ok, so your kids are griping and complaining of boredom. The heat is cranked, but it still feels like the Arctic in your house. The garden has disappeared under a thick coverlet of snow, and you're aching for the color green.

Well, I can't make spring happen any earlier than Mother Nature's clock, but a simple indoor garden is one way to make the kids happy and to bring vivid, fresh green back into your life.

Gather together containers of all kinds. I use various sizes of cans, cartons, jars, jugs, vases, and forcing jars.


Leek, Kohlrabi, carrots, sweet potato, and beet in forcing jars

Take your youngsters on a tour of your grocery store or farmers' market. Search for firm root vegetables such as beets, radishes, carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, and sweet potatoes. Throw in a ginger hand, some garlic, and a leek. Trim off tops of root vegetables and clean gently. Leave the garlic head intact.

Poke drainage holes in the bottom of cans and other containers, which you will fill with soil. Fill your glass containers with fresh water.

Nestle vegetables into containers of soil, and water thoroughly (you may want to set your containers on a tray or saucer of gravel). Set leeks in a tall vase of water. Perch radishes, kohlrabi, turnips, sweet potatoes, and carrots in a tall glass or forcing jar.

If water becomes cloudy, simply set the container under a gentle stream of water and refill.

Make sure your cans and cartons of vegetables are watered only when they've dried (give them the finger test– poke it into the soil to a depth of an inch, if dry, time to water).


Pumpkin, bean soup tepee, and tomato in recycled containers

We saved seeds from our favorite pumpkin and planted them in an old herb pot. My granddaughter Sara "rescued" dried beans from our soup pot and planted them in a container. Within a week, the beans sprouted, and Sara said she felt like a "bean mother."

Your windowsill gardens will flourish and give you (and your children) endless days of discovery and first hand experience with the powerful and magical life force inside things once only considered dinner or leftovers.

Moses plants a ginger hand

19 comments:

country girl said...

Sharon, this is so inspiring and fun! The sweetpotato plant looks so elegant. Looking forward to the release of your book.
Beautiful forcing glasses too, by the way...a nice reminder for me to keep an eye out for them at upcoming fleamarkets.
Your kind remarks on my latest post are so very much appreciated, dear one!
I was wondering....any way I can see the feature Country Living did on your home in 1989?
Sending a big warm home from snowy Austria,
Dawn

Protege said...

What a great idea, I always wanted to plant and keep herbs in my windows.;)
Your pictures are lovely, they have a sense of spring and summer about them. A welcomed sight in the midst of winter,
xo
Zuzana

Martha said...

What a great collection of forcing jars! I've done garlic but that's all -- it's great in the winter -- fresh snippets of garlic.

Thanks for stopping by my blog -- I feel honored for I have several of your books and love them!

You are an inspiration!

FlowerLady said...

I always enjoy your 'sunny' posts. I always loved reading your Hearts Ease pieces in CL Gardener.

Your windowsills of plants are great, and I love the picture of little Moses planting.

Right now I have coleus cuttings rooting in my scullery window. It is a cold 35 for us this morning. We are NOT used to this kind of weather.

Thanks again for your wonderfully, cheering posts.

FlowerLady

Linda said...

What a lovely idea! Anything that can call forth spring early gets a thumbs up from me!

Olde Common Scents said...

What a great idea! I will be buying your book! I have some lavender that is pretty big and manages to make its way through the heaps of snow. It says hi to me every freezing morning as I walk down my walkway, the Boston Common Antique bricks are so sturdy and lined up like worn soldiers with snow in their wrinkled faces, reminding me that, "Hey I'm here don't forget about the herbs and who turned off the heat?!"

tamlovesran said...

What a fun project and your photos are lovely. We don't get much sun on our house, indoors or out, but I'm still going to try this idea.

Blessings,
Tammy

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Your comments mean so much to me.

I am amazed by the number of long e-mails I receive from all over the world, and it is mostly because of this blog, which reconnects me with readers.

Today I received a wonderful letter from a gentleman in the Netherlands who is trying to connect pre-5 year olds to nature and gardens. Hurrah! We need people and programs to do just that.

Keep on visiting and writing. I appreciate you,

Sharon

Suzanne said...

What a lovely post! Thank you so much for the winter inspiration:-) I am so looking forward to your book, I may buy two and give one away as a bloggy giveaway!

Suzanne said...

Dear Sharon,
Thanks for stopping by. I just checked Amazon for your new book and found it is being released on my birthday. Guess what I am asking for:-)
Warmly,
Suzanne

someplace in thyme said...

I am so happy that you happened upon my blog and were kind enough to leave a nice comment. That is how I found you and I am so happy that I did. Altho my children are now grown with children of their own, this looks like so much fun, esp when the desert heat hits! Thankyou, Char

...... Bobbi said...

Hi Sharon, great post!! I currently have a sweet potato, leek, carrot, avacado and pineapple growing in my windowsill. I like winter, but I'm eagerly awaiting gardening season!

brown robin said...

Thanks so much for the inspiration. I am struggling a bit with single digit tmeperatures and activities for children. It feels like we have zoomed through them all in the last couple of weeks. I like the reconnection with gardening that we are so missing right now (our spinach and arugula froze under the frame outside.) The kids were bummed.

The Artful Parent said...

Thanks for the wonderful post, Sharon! That's exactly what we need to do right now.

I'm looking forward to your new book!!

comfrey cottages said...

love this post! such an enchanting way to connect children and nature:)

La Table De Nana said...

How cute is Moses too ?..and his name:)~

martha said...

dear sharon
I am writing to you from Bogotá, colombia, Southamerica. I am a preeschool teacher working on my own bussines called babytime, a early stimulation for children 1- 3 years old. And I have a little herbal and flower garden, and children are learning to grow, take care, and plant some many different seeds, it is such a wonderful experience. Thank you for your books, I am going to buy them right now,, so useful!
love
martha Bernhard

martha said...

dear sharon
I am writing to you from Bogotá, colombia, Southamerica. I am a preeschool teacher working on my own bussines called babytime, a early stimulation for children 1- 3 years old. And I have a little herbal and flower garden, and children are learning about growing, care, and planting many different seeds, it is such a wonderful experience. Thank you for your books, I am going to buy them right now,, so useful!
love
martha Bernhard

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

What fun ideas. Perfect for my senior mom and my grandkids to have a little gardening fun together. We're also looking forward to plenty of autumn fun activities for grandparents and their grandchildren as we work through the wonderful variety of projects and ideas in your delightful book, Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars. :)