February

Navy beans quickly germinate in the classroom.

 

Snow Painting in the Garden

It pays to get outdoors, even on cold, snowy days.  Make your garden plan a little more “real” by painting pictures of the fruits, vegetables or flowers you plan to grow on the snow. How?  First, collect clean, empty spray bottles – one for each color of paint you plan to use.  Then pour a small amount of non-toxic, water-based tempura paint (poster paint) in each bottle, add water, screw on the spray top, and shake.  Test the mixture on a patch of snow.  The paint should be vibrant and stay on top of the snow (not soak in).  You may have to adjust the water-paint ratio to get the right consistency. ‘Paint’ the snow by squeezing the trigger while forming shapes. Give each student an item and area to paint.  Then stand back and admire your colorful winter garden.  (Of course, this project requires a layer of snow of the ground.)


Tracking Tracks

Regardless of your garden’s size, you might be amazed and the kinds of critter tracks you can find in the snow.  Have students hunt for animal tracks and try to identify them.  Why is that animal in or near the garden? What does that animal eat? Where does it live?  What is its habitat?  What could you do to attract more of this animal?  Less?


An Early Spring

Cut branches of forsythia, pussy willow, crabapple, quince, honeysuckle and other early spring-flowering plants to force into bloom indoors. Place the branches in warm water, and set them in a cool location.  Wishful thinking at it’s best!


Germination Test

Are seeds left over from gardens past still good?  Have students test them.  Place about 10 seeds between moist paper toweling and put into a re-sealable plastic bag.  Keep seeds warm and moist and check them every few days. The seed packet will tell you how many days are required for germination. If less than six seeds start to sprout, then fresh seeds should be purchased.


It’s Not Too Early

Cool season crops like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can be started indoor by seed this month so they’ll be ready for transplanting to the garden early in the season. Start seeds five to seven weeks prior to transplanting.


Investigate Fundraising Opportunities

Raise money for your garden by selling copies of Our Generous Garden and the bilingual Nuestra Huerta Generosa, a true story of children who start a vegetable garden at their school and change their community. Contact us for details


Apply for Grants

Grants are offered for just about every kind of garden initiative, from teaching healthy eating habits to tolerance.  Explore the many grants out there, gather your information, and get writing.  Start exploring grants.



copyright Anne Nagro