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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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Previous Issue:
Lessons in the Vegetable Garden,
Part 1
Why Plant a Vegetable Garden?
Gardening with Young Children
Learning About Plants
Spiritual and Character Lessons

Lessons in the Vegetable Garden,
Part 2
     Planning Your Garden
     Preparing Your Soil and Garden
     Tending Your Garden
     Keeping a Record
     Harvesting and Beyond
Recommended Resources
     Gardens Unit Study by Amanda Bennett
     Oxford Tutorial
     Free Softbasics Math Tri-Pak Software
     The Teaching Home Back Issues
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote


     Gardening is a wonderful life skill to teach your children
-- one that could yield a tasty and healthy harvest all summer
long!  Your lessons in the vegetable garden can also plant seeds
in the areas of academics, character, and spiritual life that
will produce fruit throughout your child's life.
     If you can't do a full garden this year, consider raising a
tomato plant in a container or a couple of zucchini plants to
share with all your neighbors.
     Happy gardening!

Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Sisters and Co-Editors
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian


Gardens Unit Study
Exciting unit study from Amanda
Bennett, ready to use -- no preparation
or extra books required.  Watch for the
new Oceans Unit Study, coming soon!
Free shipping through April 30!


Home-School and Other Events

State Home-School Conventions
     The Teaching Home's website (below) lists state home-school
events, dates, and links to complete information.
April.  CA, KS, LA, MD, MA, NM, OK, UT
May.  AR, FL, GA, IL, MI, MS, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OR, PA,
     TN, TX, WV, WI, WY / NB, QC
June.  CO, CT, ID, IL, IA, KS, MT, NY, OH, SC, SD, 2 TX, VA
July.  AL, AZ, CA, KY, TN / NZ  August. OR, 2 TX
     Read "Getting the Most Out of Home-School Events" at

Restore America Rally
     Atlanta, Georgia, April 22.  Celebrate America‚Äôs Christian
Heritage with Chief Justice Roy Moore, Gary DeMar, Patriotic
Singer Steve Vaus, and the North Cobb Christian Choir for good,
old-fashioned family fun!

National Day of Prayer: May 5
     The National Day of Prayer proclaims "God Shed His Grace
on Thee" as its theme for 2005.
     "America has never needed God's grace, blessings and
intervention more than it does now," says Chairman Shirley Dobson.
     For information see

Global Day of Prayer: May 15
     The Global Day of Prayer, scheduled for Pentecost Sunday,
May 15, is expecting more than 200 million Christians from almost
every country to unite in prayer for Christ's glory and the
transformation of the nations.
     For more information see


     An Online Tutorial Service for High School Students
     Oxford Tutorials offers college preparation classes over the
     internet in C.S. Lewis, Latin, Great Books, Logic, Rhetoric,
     Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien.
      *  Follows a classical, Christian worldview and approach
      *  Teaches the history of ideas which shaped our culture


Lessons in the Vegetable Garden
     Gardening with your children provides opportunities to teach
and train them in several areas such as:
 *  Life Skills
 *  Academics
 *  Character
 *  Spiritual Life

Unit Studies
     If you want to take a more formal approach to your lessons
in gardening, or want to augment your own lessons, consider one of
these unit studies.

Gardens Unit Study by Amanda Bennett.  (CD-ROM)
Braden Road Farm's Gardening Unit Study and Award Program.
     (Printed Format)
Botany Unit Study on all aspects of plants.
Unit Study on Plants.  (Online)
Spring Into Gardening Unit Study.  (Online)

Planning Your Garden
     One of the lessons that gardening can teach your children is
the value of planning.
     Like many jobs (painting, for instance), the planning and
preparation may take as long and be even more important than the
actual work of brushing on the paint or putting the seed into the
     Considering the following factors in planning your garden
will save you time, money, and energy.

1.  Research
 *  Look at seed catalogs, displays of seed packets, gardening
     books, or the Internet to become familiar with different
     varieties of garden vegetables.
 *  Visit garden centers and nurseries.
 *  Talk to experienced gardeners in your area.
     - Invite grandparents or another family to dinner to share
     their gardening know-how with you.

2.  Choose Vegetables
     Discuss as a family:
 *  What vegetables (and herbs) does your family like to eat?
     (In the advantages of a garden that we listed in our last
     issue, we forgot to include the superior, fresh taste of
     home-grown produce.)
 *  What vegetables offer greater health benefits and should be
     included in your diet?
     USDA National Nutrient Database.  Look up nutrients of
     various vegetables.
 *  What vegetables can offer the best savings or superior
     quality compared to bought produce?
 *  What vegetables do you have space to grow?
 *  What vegetables grow best in your climate?

3.  Determine Amount
     You do not have to plant all the seeds in each seed packet
you buy.  Consider the following questions and then see the back
of the seed packet for the expected yield of each vegetable.
 *  How much can your family eat fresh as it is harvested?
 *  How much do you want to give away or sell?
 *  How much do you want to preserve by canning, freezing, or

4.  Make a Commitment
 *  How much time to you have to devote to garden care?
     - Estimate the number of hours per day or week that your
     garden care will take.
 *  How much money are you able and willing to spend on garden
     supplies and water?
     - Make a budget.
 *  Who will be responsible?
     - Assign specific chores or a section of your garden to
     specific family members.

5.  Find a Location
 *  Determine how much space you need to grow the types and
     amounts of vegetables you have chosen.
     - For example, if you grow corn or spreading pumpkin and
     squash, you will need much more space than just a "salad
     garden" of lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, radishes,
     cucumbers, and carrots.
 *  Determine how much money, time, energy, and commitment will
     be required for the size of your garden.
     - Novice gardeners need to start small; however, "small"
     has been suggested to be anywhere between 12'x16' to
 *  Find a space that gets 8 hours of sun (unshaded by buildings
     or trees), adequate water supply, and good drainage.
 *  If you do not have a lot of space, consider plantings in
     borders around your lawn, in containers (e.g., tomatoes)
     or on trellises, and in several smaller patches.
     - Small, well-maintained gardens with successive plantings
     can produce more than large gardens that are overridden with

Online Resources for Patio and Container Gardening

6.  Allocate Space and Map It
 *  Draw your garden to scale on graph paper and label each row.
     - Use 1/4 inch = 1 foot or tape two pieces of paper together
     and use a larger scale.
 *  Make three maps for spring, summer, and fall plantings, or
     use one map with color codes for each succession plantings.
 *  Allocate space for each vegetable based on its yield and the
     amount you can use.
     -  Check the planting and maturing time for early and late
     vegetables to see if you can make a second planting after
     the first is harvested.
 *  Draw space for each vegetable in rows (narrow or wide) or in
 *  Draw space for paths between rows or every other row.
     - Be sure you and your children can comfortably reach all
     the plants from the paths.
 *  Mark your rows to run east and west, with the taller
     vegetables on the north side.
 *  Group vegetables together according to similar need.
     - Some plants do well with overhead watering; others do not.
     - Tall sun-loving plants can be interspersed with shorter
     ones that like some shade.
     - Companion planting can allow certain plants to protect and
     enhance each other's growth.

Online Resource on Planning a Garden


Editor's Note:  Request this free software to help your children, age
6-13, achieve mastery of math facts and concepts.

Free Softbasics Math Tri-Pak Software (USA only). Used by
7,000+ families. All Windows users.


Preparing Your Soil and Garden

1.  Prepare Your Soil
 *  Rototill or shovel your garden plot to a depth of 6-12".
 *  Fertilize
     - Learn about the basic nutrients in all plant fertilizers
     (N - nitrogen; P - phosphorus, and K - potassium), as well as
     calcium, sulfur, and magnesium, and what mix is best for which
     vegetables and your health.,7518,s1-5-22-1057,00.html
 *  Ask a garden expert or your local Extension Service about
     testing the pH level of your soil and the necessity of adding
     lime to reduce the acidity.
     Cooperative Extension System Regions
 *  Add humus (decayed or decaying plant matter) to improve your
     soil texture if necessary.
     - Buy humus or make your own by composting.
     Making Compost
     Composting for Kids (and adults)
 *  When soil is fine and crumbly, rake smooth.

2.  Prepare Your Garden
 *  Following your plan, stake out your garden using 12"-18"
     stakes and string to mark off rows.
     - Use a wide permanent marker to write the names of the
     vegetables on the  stakes.
 *  Assemble, clean, and sharpen tools.
     - A handy, designated place for each tool will help your
     children to put them away after each use.
     Care of Gardening Tools
 *  It might be worthwhile to fence your garden to protect it
     from pets, children, and wildlife.

3.  Buy and Plant Your Seeds or Seedlings
 *  Buy quality seeds for varieties that will grow well in your
 *  You may need to start some plants indoors.
     Tomato Seed Starting Tips
     Which Plants Should Be Started Indoors?
*  Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, grow better if started
     from a plant.
 *  Be sure to check directions for planting each vegetable --
     how deep and how far apart the seeds should be sown and
 *  Make your own seed tapes for effective planting of tiny
*  Space your plantings two weeks apart for vegetables you want
     to eat fresh throughout the growing season.

Organic Gardening. Many articles on all aspects of soil.
Growing Zone Finder
Zone Maps of the World
"Exploring Earthworms with Me" (book) by Jane Hoffman.


Never Out of Date:
Teaching Home Magazine
Back Issues

     Many home schoolers have
found information, inspiration, and
support from the writers who have
     contributed to The Teaching Home
     magazine for more than 20 years.

     51 Back Issues Are Offered for Sale Online.
          These back issues never go out of date.  They are
     relevant and applicable to your needs today.


Tending Your Garden

1.  Providing for Plants' Needs
 *  Water your plants regularly to keep them growing.
 *  Spread a layer of grass clippings or other mulch around your
     vegetable plants to reduce weeds and conserve moisture.
     Easy Gardening: Mulching
*  Add fertilizer to crops as needed.

2.  Eliminating the Undesirable
 *  Pull or hoe weeds while they are small so they will not
     compete with your vegetables for water, nutrients, and
     Weeding Tips
     Organic Gardening Articles on Weeds
*  Thin seedlings as soon as possible to provide room for your
     plants to grow.
 *  Control pests, without harmful pesticides if possible:
     - Order ladybugs and lacewings.
     - Attract toads and birds to your garden.
     - Plant marigolds, nasturtiums, and mint.
     - Shake large beetles onto a sheet of plastic.
     - Pick off snails by hand.
     Pest Control Library: Bugs, Diseases, Animal, Other.
     Controlling Slugs

Maintaining a Vegetable Garden
Easy Gardening Series
Better Homes and Gardens Vegetable & Fruit Gardening Tips
Organic Gardening Articles on Gardening Techniques
Food Gardening Guide: Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs
National Gardening's Biweekly Regional Reports

Keeping a Record
     Keep a notebook, scrapbook, or journal to record details
of your garden.  Items to include:
 *  Your garden plans.
 *  Packets that contained the seeds you planted.
 *  Photos or drawings of plants as they grow.
 *  Schedule of plantings.
 *  Notes about everything you did in your garden.
 *  Inventory of supplies, where they were bought, and the price.

Online Articles by Cindy Rushton
Nature Notebooks, Scrapbooking, and Notebooking

Harvesting and Beyond
 *  Pick or pull vegetables frequently when at their peak for the
     best flavor and to keep the plants producing.
     - Cut leaf crops within 2" of ground.
 *  Find new and nutritious ways to use your fresh produce as it
 *  Don't forget to share your produce, fresh or preserved, with
     friends, neighbors, and those in need.
 *  Consider entering some of your produce in your state fair.
     Cooperative Extension System Regions
 *  Preserve your crop by freezing, canning, or drying.
     - Obtain information from your local Extension Office.
     Canning and Freezing Basics
     Drying Vegetables
 *  Store root crops

Harvesting and Handling Vegetables
Storing Fall Vegetables


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     e-mail.  Please consider those that advertised in our last issue
     (below) as well as the ones in this issue.

     Speedy Spanish, School Devotional, Christian Ethics

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     Praiseworthy Books

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     God's World Current Events Newspapers

     Life Checks


Sunnyside Up:  Maiden Name?
     Our daughter, Elizabeth, was spelling her name aloud over
and over again. She had just turned 5, and I was impressed that
she could spell her name without writing it down.
     My name is Stephanie, so I can relate to the difficulty long
names can pose. I told her, "When I was 5, I had to have my name
written on my desk at school for months, because I couldn't spell
it without help."
     Elizabeth asked in amazement, "You couldn't remember M-O-M?"
     Submitted by Stephanie L., Nevada


God Loves You.
     Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ
died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust Jesus
Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
     "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).


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