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Family Time and the Window Box



Family Time and the Window Box http://www.pokingaroundthehome.com/articles/248/1/Family-Time-and-the-Window-Box By Published on 09/26/2005

Most children enjoy watching new plants grow, but city living often means that they miss out on the gardening experience. However, even if you don't have a yard, you and your family can still garden together. You and your children can spend some fun family time together with a window box garden.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Family Time and the Window Box Most children enjoy watching new plants grow, but city living often means that they miss out on the gardening experience. However, even if you don't have a yard, you and your family can still garden together. You and your children can spend some fun family time together with a window box garden.

These window boxes can range from elaborate and expensive wrought iron models to a simple and very reasonably priced molded plastic box. Cedar or pine window boxes are popular choices. Fortunately, plants are quite happy in any of these boxes, so you can choose whichever one you like.

Once you decide on a window box, talk to your children about what they want to grow in their box. Perhaps they want colorful flowers. Maybe they'd prefer to grow fresh vegetables for the table. Spaghetti lovers may want to grow herbs, instead. If you have young children, you may want to buy bedding plants to start your window box, but older children should have the patience and understanding to enjoy growing their plants from seed.

For a flower filled window box, consider spring bulbs, pansies, petunias, dahlias, or geraniums. Be sure to add a few foliage plants, which are plants grown for their leaves, as well. Good foliage plants for window boxes include small hostas, Dusty Miller, and vinca. If you want to start your plants from seed, try moss rose, marigold, and nasturtium seeds.

To grow a vegetable garden in your window box, you may want to try cabbage, onions, or even a patio tomato plant. To grow vegetables from seed, try lettuce, carrots, and spinach. If you have a trellis in the window box, you can try growing peas or beans from seed.

For an herb window box, try parsley, chives, basil, and oregano plants. You can also easily grow parsley and basil from seed.

Of course, if you can't make up your mind, you can always try growing a few heads of lettuce and a parsley plant in the same window box, or you can put window boxes on all of your windows.

Once you decide which type of window box you want, you will need to prepare the box for planting. First, install the brackets for your window box. Be sure to follow the manufacturer instructions, since a box filled with damp dirt is quite heavy and you don't want the brackets to give way and send the box crashing to the ground. In fact, if you are installing the box on a first floor window, you may want to put your window box into place before you fill it. If you are putting the box on a higher window, you will probably want to set the box into place after you fill it, since you don't want your children to fall out the window while they are trying to plant their window box.

Now, it is time to fill your window box with dirt. You should use a good potting soil mix. Add water retaining crystals to the soil to be sure the plants do not dry out too rapidly. If you are starting your plants from seed, fill the box to about an inch from the brim. If you will be placing plants in the box, do not fill the box quite as full, as the plants' roots will take up some room. This way, you can fill in around the roots after the plants are in place, instead of having soil spilling over the edges of the window box.

If you are planting seeds, help your children carefully sprinkle them over the surface of the soil. Most seeds need a light covering of potting soil, sand or gravel over them before they sprout. Each plant packet should include instructions for how deeply to cover the seeds. Once the seeds are planted, gently water the soil's surface so that the seeds are not washed around. If you are planting a few varieties of seed, you may also want to label them so that you remember what they are when they sprout. Now, set the window box in place. Check the box each day to be sure it doesn't dry out. Don't forget to have your children check for that first magical seedling to appear.

If you are filling your window box with plants, carefully position them in the box and fill the spaces between their roots with soil. Gently firm the soil into place and water your plants well. Put the window box in place and wait for your first flower or vegetable to appear.

Once your children see the magic of growing plants, don't be surprised if they want to move to a house with a yard so that they can grow even more plants!

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Article Source: Pokingaroundthehome.com

 

 

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