Planting day is the first day I get my hands in the ice cold earth and ask it to grow us tomatoes, the first day the nursery runs out of carts and we have to stick cilantro and hot peppers in the bottom of the stroller. Planting day is the first day Shep goes streaking through the backyard (but hardly the last.) Like most of our adventures it is never perfect, we end up with a trunk for of spilled soil and mangled herbs, crying kids, multiple invertebrate casualties, and without fail, the wrong kind of parsley. I wouldn’t change a thing about it though … except for maybe the inevitable late frost that rolls through town a week after we get everything in the ground. Planting day is the best kind of chaos, the kind you hope for when motherhood is still a dream.
Sheppy loves planting day too. He starts asking about sweet potato vines and succulents and bags of dirt as soon as the daffodils (his favorite) start to poke out of the ground. He also loves eating from the garden, which is an actual miracle. If it weren’t for our curly little green bean plants, he might not eat vegetables at all from May through September. For the past couple of years, he has loved spreading the soil with his little trowel and squishing it between his toes but I can feel the pull of monster trucks and PJ Masks getting stronger, I know his interest in our little patch of produce will wane over time. With his full-on explosion of boyness looming, I wanted to make sure planting day was extra special for him this year. We invited our pals for some kitschy crafty gardening fun and made a day of it. Here are a few activities that got us all in the springtime spirit!
Stupid Cute Containers
Planters are expensive and you never seem to have enough of them. Toys are not expensive and you probably have a thousand more than you actually need and no idea what to do with them. Almost anything can be repurposed into a precious planter with the right attitude and kiddo creativity. Let your littles make something special out of toys and household items that have fallen by the wayside. Vessels that allow for a little bit of drainage are best, but anything sturdy that you can poke a few holes in should work just fine. Baby Delaney and I picked out a sweet birdhouse for our parsley but it was totally outshined by Shep’s Roamin’ Romaine Truck. The best thing? When that frost comes in seven days I can just wheel my lettuce inside!
Keeping track of your plant babies can be almost as hard as keeping track of your actual babies. Let your littles help you remember what you planted and where with some souped up signage. This is a great way to get rid of leftover odds and ends from your last crafty adventure and also, to keep the kids busy while you attend to more grown up jobs … like making mimosas. All you need are some popsicle sticks, a little scotch tape, a few construction paper rounds, and a little bit of craft swag from the bottom of the drawer.
Not only do these little numbers help you remember which one is a beet and which one is an onion, they serve as mini-scarecrows to keep the critters at bay.
I’m a sucker for splotchy, smushy abstract kid painting. No matter how hard I try and recreate that perfect toddler whimsy myself, I just can’t seem to nail it. Painted terra cotta planters give your perennials a little extra personality and can be great little gifts for grandparents and teachers. We buy ours on Amazon and let Sheppy do the rest. For an added touch, we lined the top of our planter with leftover pasta from our Valentine's Day craft.
Now, after our big planting party is over, all we have to do is wait for that botanical magic to do its thing and bring us bunches and bunches of sunny sunflowers. Wishing you and your sprouts loads of lilies, buckets of beets, and a fruitful season of gardening fun!