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was amazing! It was paradise; warm temperatures and the smell of fresh dirt in the air. We checked out all the young plants that filled the room from end to end to end before we got our own hands dirty. We must have planted a couple of hundred seeds in 20-row seed flats - tomatoes, marigolds, nastur- tiums, pansies, basil and oregano. After feeding them with the special mixture we placed them in the germination chamber, wishing them well and happy growing under Kevin's watchful eye. After two busy weekends kept us

away from the greenhouse we finally made it back to see our babies! This time both boys

came, as Desmond

flatly refused to be left behind again. Many of our plants were up and ready for transplanting into larger pots. It was really exciting looking at all our baby tomatoes and the fragrant smell and taste of the basil leaves! (Perhaps letting the boys taste the basil wasn't such a great idea; Desmond ended up eating a few plants before we were able to transplant them.) There is nothing more exciting than

watching children in a greenhouse. My boys beg me to take them to the greenhouse all the time. They associate it with an afternoon of casual wander- ing through a tropical environment, looking at an ever changing assortment of plants, seeds and gardening acces- sories. They ask endless questions and enjoy picking plants for the garden. Their enthusiasm is palpable. Inevita- bly they talk me into trying out a new plant; not a hard thing to do. Last year it was a couple of haskap bushes on sale at the end of the season; this year we are going to grow one of their favourite treats − ground cherries Gardens are the perfect classroom as

they are constantly evolving and chang- ing. It isn't hard to get children involved in the garden; you need only approach it with the same sense of wonder, take pleasure in the small things and impart little pearls of wisdom as you go along. I’m delighted with how much informa- tion they retain, it pops up in conver- sations and play later. Like this past weekend. We were getting the garden cleared out, and the boys were chas- ing each other around and looking for bugs in the dirt when it started to rain. "Ahhh, it's raining worm tea, I have worm poop on me," they were scream- ing and laughing. "Mom you have worm poop on you too, ha ha." I had to laugh. Thanks for that,

Kevin; I just hope it doesn't rain worm poop all summer. q

10 Cool Things about greenhouses for kids

1. Did you know that baby plants are found in a nursery? Plants are started

from seed and stay in the nurseries until they are big enough to go home with someone.

2. Plants use fertilizers or chemicals to help them grow. Just like you need

your vitamins, plants need important elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to become strong and healthy.

3. Manure, or animal poop, is an excellent fertilizer for plants. Horse, cow,

pig, sheep, goat and chicken are the most commonly used types. 4. Kevin at T&T feeds his plants a special tea called worm tea. It is made of

worm castings and you guessed it, worm poop. Delicious, the plants love it. 5. Seed companies like T&T need to have really cold rooms, coolers, to

keep things like potatoes and bulbs. Coolers keep bulbs, roots and trees in a dormant state which prevents them from growing. Really warm rooms, or greenhouses, give young seedlings a warm environment to assist them in their development.

6. Greenhouses are very hot. They are set at around 27 C, the temperature

of a nice summer day, to provide a toasty environment for all those baby plants to grow.

7. The smallest seed in the world belongs to a type of orchid that lives in

tropical rain forests. Its seeds are as big as a tiny particle of dust and are blown into the air, landing in the upper canopy of the forest. The largest seed in the world is the coco-de-mer palm. It can grow 12 inches long, three feet around and weigh 40 pounds. That's more than most preschoolers!

8. Big seeds have more energy and often germinate (grow into plants) quick-

er than smaller seeds. Flower seeds that germinate quickly include sunflowers and cosmos (4-6 days), and zinnias and marigolds (5-7 days). Quick sprout- ing vegetable seeds include corn, watermelon, cucumber and squash which germinate in 4-7 days.

9. Greenhouses are very busy places in early spring. Some seeds are started

as early as February to get ready for planting season and new stock – seeds, plants and gardening accessories also start filling the shelves.

10. Try a greenhouse scavenger hunt: (a.) Find one plant with flowers that have two colours on the petals. (b.) Find a plant that smells really good that you can eat. (c.) Find a plant with coloured leaves (not green). (d.) Find a must have tool for the garden and tell me why. (e.) Find a plant or seed that will grow into your favourite vegetable.

Hey Kids! Enter to win!

Use snail mail or email me at tania@pegasuspub- by June 15th and let me know what you found for a chance to win one of three cool prizes from T&T Seeds. Thanks again Kevin! (Sorry parents, this contest is for kids only!)

Spring 2015 • 35

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