Kids Love Gardening

Children’s Vegetable Gardens: Introduction

Apparently, we can see how nature is treated these days.  It is a sad thing to know that people do not pay attention so much anymore to the environmental problems.  What can we do about this?  It’s as simple as starting with the children.  It is good to see the children’s involvement with environment-friendly activities. One such nature-loving activity that children could easily get their hands on is gardening. Why should you consider gardening for your children?

Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with:

1.  Science
In planting, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science like the plants life cycle and how humans intervention can break or make the environment.  They can have a first hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed.  This would definitely be a new and enjoyable experience for the kids.

2.  Life
Watching a seed grow into a tree is just as wondrous as the conception to birth and growth of a child.  In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them. Gardening could actually help simulate how life should be treated — it should be with care. The necessities to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening – water, sunlight, air, soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities, i.e., water, shelter, air, food.  By simply weeding out, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided to be able to live life smoothly.

3.  Relaxation
Studies show that gardening can reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group.  More so, it stimulates all the five senses.  Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children who have been abused or those who are members of broken homes.  It helps build one’s self-esteem.

4.  Quality Time with the Family
You can forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely ambience in the garden.  You can play and spend quality time with your children.  You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other.  The bottom line is, always do what you have to do, together with your kids.  You might discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden.

Let kids become aware of their environment’s needs. And one way to jump start that environmental education may be through gardening.  It’s hitting two birds with one stone — teach them to respect life while you bond with them.

Rose Planting Tips

Renoir's painting of cabbage roses, Roses in a...

Renoir’s painting of cabbage roses, Roses in a vase (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr Mom,

When spring is on its way and the ground is soft, it is the perfect time for planting roses. Roses have been a very popular bloom over the years, not only do they look good, but they smell wonderful too.

However, planting roses cannot be done just anywhere or in just any climate. They need special care and treatment. Here are some tips that you need to consider in order to successfully grow roses:

1. Roses require about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight everyday. It would be best to plant your roses in a clear area where there are not too many trees or other types of plants. The reason behind this is that the rose may lack sunlight exposure and the roots are also likely to become intertwined with the rose and throttle its growth. If you wish to replace an old rose bush, you should remove about 1 ½ cubic feet of the old soil and replace it with new soil so that the newly planted rose will have fresh soil to start with.

2. When thinking about the position of your roses you must consider the type of rose you are planting. Place ramblers and climbers along trellises, fences and next to pergolas or arches. This is important to consider because they need space to grow freely and these positions are perfect for bigger blooming roses.

3. Roses will look good in island beds which can be mixed with perennials. Smaller roses make great edging plants, which are perfect for combining in front of taller species. Dig a hole large enough for the size of the root ball, but remember to loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole. You can also add bone meal which acts as a slow acting resource of phosphorus. This will help establish a healthy root growth for your roses.

4. You should be careful when considering the planting depth as this depends on your climate. If you live in a cooler climate, plant roses deeper, but if you wish to plant in a pot, you must dig about 1 inch deeper than the usual potted level.

5. Make sure that you place roses in the hole carefully. The hole should be refilled with soil so that the roots are covered completely. Before you make the final covering, water the rose. Then mound the soil about 8 inches high around the base of the plant. The earth will keep the stems from drying out until the plant is completely rooted. As the leaves open, you can remove the excess soil that surrounds the plant.

These some important tips you need to consider when planting roses. It will be worth the effort, as your roses will bloom beautifully.

Money-Saving Gardening Tips

IMGP0854 - vege garden

IMGP0854 – vege garden (Photo credit: RaeAllen)

It’s easy to spend a fortune every year creating a beautiful yard. These five tips can help save you money in both this, and future gardening seasons.

1. Plan your vegetable garden according to what your neighbors are planting so you can share your vegetables when they’re ready for eating. Often I’ve had too many of one kind of vegetable I couldn’t give away because my friend’s were ripe at the same time.

2. Select perennials rather than annuals for your flowerbeds. As they multiply each year, cut them back and exchange with your friends so you both have lovely gardens and save money at the same time.

3. Compost your kitchen scraps, as well as your coffee grounds.  The end result is much better than any potting soil you can ever get buy from a nursery or hardware store. The price is right, and this is definitely recycling!

4. Instead of using mulch, try pebbles or small rocks in your garden as ground cover.  This will save you lots of cash since you won’t need to buy mulch in the spring and fall of every year.

5. Spend more money now by purchasing better quality gardening tools and you will save in the long run.  They will last for years, saving you dollars because you don’t need to replace them every planting season.  Same goes for gardening gloves- make sure you buy the best you can afford so they last all season.

Happy Gardening!

For Better Plants

English: A picture of compost soil

English: A picture of compost soil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr. Mom,

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider.

1. Watering
A watering can is a must-have in every garden. It is recommended that you purchase the one with a narrow spout to ensure adequate watering. But that does not always apply, so the finger test may come in handy. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If you feel that the soil is damp, don’t water it. Otherwise, do.

2. Feeding
With foliage plants, they always need to be high in nitrogen. For flowering plants, on the other hand, K2O is needed. Fertilizers such as the slow release ones can be mixed with the compost. However, some plants like cacti and orchids need special feeds. Feed plants on the height of their active growth.

3. Lighting
Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no shade. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Others need sun or no sun at all like cheeseplants.

4. Temperature
With houseplants, they can survive in temperatures a little bit higher than 15 – 250 C or 55 – 750 F. But drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them.

5. Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. The compost will not dry out. Plants are capable of creating their own climate if grouped together. This tip can also be used for keeping the soil moist. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the day’s temperature.

6. Re-potting
Other plants require re-potting for optimum growth but some plants may not be suitable for this idea. They would not want their roots to be disturbed or other plants’ root system is small. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot.

You just need to have a little care for your plants and in turn, you’ll reap its benefits. You don’t only have a garden that can add to your house’s beauty you can also learn how to respect and nurture life in its varied forms.

S-s-s-stop the S-s-s-stuttering

English: Speech-Language Pathology

English: Speech-Language Pathology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr. Mom,

A stutter normally starts for people in childhood and is often referred to as a childhood stutter. This is often very worrying for parents and the child and it is difficult to know where to seek help for the person who has the stutter.

There are many types of stutter. Family and friends may not even be aware that a person they know has a stutter. That is because the person is able to hide the stutter, by using word avoidance or word substitution.

Other people are unable to do this and have what they would consider an openly more severe stutter.

A stutter would normally occur more when a person is:

  • under pressure
  • when tired
  • meeting new people
  • speaking in an uncomfortable situation
  • asking questions, for example asking for directions
  • introducing people Stuttering can also be known in some areas as stammering.

Stutter therapy:

People who have a stutter have different options when seeking therapy. They can go to a speech therapist or speech pathologist. Alternatively they can attend a speech course. These courses can be on a group basis or on a one to one basis.

There is one simple thing that Dr. Mom can do to help stuttering in a child. When a small child starts stuttering it is usually because he or she cannot find or articulate their words quick enough because of their small vocabulary. This is very stressful and almost terrifying for the little one who knows he has a small chance of getting his thought out (before he is distracted or Dr. Mom is distracted for that matter.) Take the child’s face in your hands and look into his eyes – give him all your attention and let him think about what he wants to say and help him get the words or thoughts out (before he forgets). Take the stress off. Give them all your time and attention. If you do this every time he begins to stutter or sputter trying to get your attention, the little one will realize he can take his time and even get to learn new words to communicate his thoughts. After a while the urgency will disappear and these incidences will get fewer and fewer – and the stuttering will be a thing of the past. This also works for rearranging speech impediments, saying “Watch my mouth, watch my tongue.”

And ….. Stutters can sing without stuttering – so encourage them to sing their thoughts if the stuttering is entrenched. Sing with them. Learn words with them. Learn the words of songs with them. Therapy rocks!

Don’t Forget – Ginkgo

Ginkgo Biloba Leaves with black background

Ginkgo Biloba Leaves with black background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr Mom,

Here is another herb for your first aid kit – brainfood.

Ginkgo trees, are one of the oldest species of trees cultivated in China and are believed to be 150 to 200 million years old. The ginkgo trees grow in average soil and even in full sun. The tree can grow 100 – 120 feet. Ginkgo trees are very resistant to pollution and infection and hardly suffer any disease. Insects rarely attack these plants. Due to these reasons these trees are most tolerant even in urban conditions and are grown as shade trees.

Ginkgo or ginkgo biloba extracts is made from various parts of these trees. Chinease has used ginkgo biloba for the centuries for treating various ailments. Now it is most researched herb and is used by most of the countries as herbal medicine.

Working of Ginkgo Biloba:

Ginkgo leaves contains two groups of active components known as flavonoid glycosides and ginkgolides. These active ingredients helps in increasing blood flow to the brain and improving overall network of blood vessels, and consequently increases the inflow of oxygen and essential nutrients to brain and other important organs of the body and simultaneously helps controlling in allergic inflammation and asthma.

Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba:

The research on this herbal medicine continues for the last three decades and some of the benefits as evidenced by clinical studies have been summarized below.

  • It has a positive effect on vascular system and it allows the system to act more efficiently by allowing more blood flow and consequently more oxygen to the vital organs of the body including brain.
  • Brain, being the highest oxygen consumer (20%) of the total oxygen requirement of the human body, regulates the body more efficiently.
  • The improved blood circulation to brain including microcirculation in smaller capillaries increases memory and metabolic efficiency including neurotransmitters regulation.
  • Ginkgo biloba is useful for relaxing coronary arteries constricted by cholesterol.
  • Ginkgo biloba is also useful for relieving tension and anxiety.
  • Ginkgo biloba is also beneficial to elevate mood and restore energy.
  • Ginkgo biloba controls platelet activity factor (PAF). Excessive platelet factor (PAF) in the body may cause physical stress, brain disorder, and skin problem including psoriasis, cardiovascular disease and other hearing disorders.
  • Ginkgo biloba is beneficial for treating vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Ginkgo biloba acts as an antioxidant and inhibits free radical formed in the body. Antioxidant plays a vital role for protecting cardiovascular and central nervous system (CNS). The combined effect of improved circulatory system and antioxidant improves blood flow to retina and controls retinal deterioration causing an overall improvement in visual activity.
  • Some of the clinical trials indicate that ginkgo biloba is beneficial for treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Ginkgo biloba is also used as supportive herbal medicine for treating infertility disorder in males.

Precaution:

Although it is a herbal medicine with enormous benefits, it should not be combined with certain antidepressants such as MAO (mono amine oxidase). Persons taking medicine for blood clotting disorders should avoid taking ginkgo biloba, as the medicine will increase the effect of prescribed medicine.

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should not take ginkgo biloba.

Side Effects:

The possible side effects of the medicine include

  • Ginkgo biloba may cause some gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Ginkgo biloba increases the risk of bleeding and if you have or had any blood clotting disorder, you should not take ginkgo biloba.
  • The other common side effects of ginkgo biloba may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, headache and restlessness.

If you observe any of the side effect as mentioned above or any other side effect, you should stop taking ginkgo biloba and always consult your doctor. Lately there have been reports that ginkgo has long term side effects. Learn about it and use it for good.

Read A Movie?

English: The Old Disney movie set for the Rescue

English: The Old Disney movie set for the Rescue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading a book from which a movie is made is almost always a richer experience than simply watching the movie. The experience of savoring the words on the page and allowing yourself to be taken on a journey inspired by the author is sublime. As the author paints a picture with words, your imagination fills in the blanks until the voices of the characters and the images of the settings resonate in your mind.
After reading and thoroughly enjoying a well-written book, watching the movie adaptation can be an interesting experience. The voices and images from your imagination are contrasted by those created by the actors, the director, and the cinematographer. It’s not that the experience of watching a movie adaptation is necessarily bad – it’s simply different. It presents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to your children the difference between words on a page and images on a screen – and to have a great family experience in the process.

Almost without fail, your children will agree that while they enjoyed the movie, the experience created by their own imagination is better. Demonstrating to your child that their imagination is more powerful than a hollywood blockbuster is a very liberating and supportive exercise. Believe it or not, going through this process of reading a great book and then seeing the movie actually reinforces your child’s love of reading as well as the use of their imagination!

As a family, take the opportunity to read a book that has been made into a movie before watching the movie. Discuss which scenes you think will make it into the movie and which they may have to cut. Have family members choose favorite characters, and act out some scenes from the book. These types of activities build excitement and set the stage for seeing the movie together as a family. If you want to go all out, dress in costume to see the movie. Afterwards, discuss how the movie differed from the book, and, more importantly, how it differed from the scenes created in family members’ imaginations.

Younger children may enjoy hearing the classic tale of Chicken Little prior to seeing the Disney movie of the same name. Older family members might enjoy Le Miserables. Discuss the moral of the story, and, after watching the movie, talk about how the storyline in the movie demonstrated the principles of the classic.