Garden Blast- December 16 – 31, 2022
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What to Do, When
For Educators- Tell a Garden Story
Are there weeds in the garden? Probably. Even though everything else seems to be “dead” or “asleep”, somehow those pesky weeds can still pop up. One of the prettiest ones this time of year is called henbit, Lamium amplexicaule (lam-ee-um am-plex-i-caw-lee)! It is what turns the lawns and fields purple, even on the coldest winter days. Take a closer look at them! The tiny, purple flowers are fuzzy. Ask your children to describe the color and texture of the flower, if they can see it! This winter weed can be a nectar source for overwintering pollinators, so they are important.
For Children- Have a Garden Interaction
Do you like to be outside in the winter time? Why or why not? Why do you think the trees have dropped all of their leaves? What colors are the leaves now? Do some of the trees still have leaves? Are the trees dead or are they still alive?
Educators/adults: It is important to children to understand that plants are always growing and changing, just like them. Deciduous (dee-si-due-us) trees drop their leaves in the winter time to conserve their energy in the colder, darker months of the year, but they are still very much alive!
For Parents- Bringing it Home
Greenery is commonly used as decoration this time of year, no matter what holiday you celebrate. Christmas trees are a species of fir tree, called Abies fraseri (A-bees fray-ser-eye), and are grown mostly in the mountain region of North Carolina. One of the reasons we use them for decoration in the US is their aromatic scent. If you have gotten the thick sap on your hands, you know all about this.
If your family or someone you know keeps a live Christmas tree, engage your child in the watering process. Why is it important to water the tree? Because the tree is still alive and “breathing”. The scientific term for this “breathing” is called respiration, and it is the loss of water through the leaves through chemical and atmospheric changes.
February 1 is the beginning of the planting cycle for “spring veggies”. To prepare, check out the planting calendar to see potential crops that will be ready to go in the ground. Some plants you can start inside from seed in January, but it might be more cost- and time-effective to buy these from a local nursery.