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Weeds Find A Way 2 January 22, 2014

Filed under: Books,Environmental Education — explorergarden @ 8:08 am

My first picture book Weeds Find A Way will be out on February 4 and on Christmas Eve, as I lay in bed sick with the flu, my husband brought in a package from the doorstep — my book!!  An early copy!e9baba031001fc9fcffb37dabf77f648_twp1

We may not think of weeds this way, but they’re a valuable educational resource — and they’re free! Download  curriculum about weeds — Science, Common Core Writing, Art, and Social-Emotional Development activities — on my website at so you can use weeds as an amazing — and, yes, sometimes annoying — resource.

Here are a few weeds living in my garden this week: purslane, a dandelion relative, grasses, stinging nettle, and cheeseweed.

I am told purslane can help prevent cancer.

I am told purslane can help prevent cancer.

A dandelion relative.

A dandelion relative.

Stinging nettle -- ouch! It has  acid in its tiny hairs!

Stinging nettle — ouch! It has acid in its tiny hairs!

Cheeseweed -- in the mallow family.

Cheeseweed — in the mallow family.

A grass of some sort.

A grass of some sort.

A tiny weed -- I need to learn its name -- growing next to my baby beets.

A tiny weed — I need to learn its name — growing next to my baby chard.


Everything is OK in the Garden

Filed under: Gardening,Gratitude — explorergarden @ 7:56 am

Despite the skunk on the loose, by January, my greens are doing well, carrots are better than ever, and my Japanese turnips  are abundant. The sunflowers are just starting to climb and a few peas are coming up. The beans I planted as a crop cover before I put in my composted manure are all over the place, too, which was not my intention. They didn’t come up when I thought they would, but are kind of a nice surprise now in our unseasonably hot January.

IMG_0894 january 2014 1 IMG_0895


Oh! Woe! Critters in my Garden!

Filed under: Animals,Gardening — explorergarden @ 7:47 am
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This year, after learning so much at Wild Willow Farm, I really put a lot of effort into my own family garden. I brought in a truck load of good composted manure from Van Ommering’s Dairy, added great COF — Complete Organic Fertilizer — dug and loosened the soil really deeply to make it fluffy, raked it smooth, laid out my drip lines and staked them down, and then planted seeds at the proper depth and distances. Oh! What a wonderful gardener I was! What a wonderful garden I would have!!

The next morning, this is what I found! A  skunk LOVED what I had done to the garden as much as I did. He came in and dug for grubs — and dug up my seeds. I was so sad.I put things back together as best I could, and…he did it again. And again. FOUR times.

The next weekend, when I finally had a free minute, I tied  big bamboo pieces at the bottom of my garden fence with zip ties to try to keep him out. It may have worked. In my next post I’ll how pictures of my garden in January!

gophers in the garden November 2013


closing off the garden to skunks


Susan A. Olcott

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