According to the Big Weather Dartboard, the Midwest is about to get slammed by a big ol' snowstorm. Freezing rain and as much as two feet of snow are expected over the next two days. Hardly the time to be thinking about the garden.
Or is it?
A crummy winter afternoon is the perfect time to plan your garden, especially if the kids are home due to a snow day. Break out the seed catalogs, some graph paper, and a box of colored pencils. Whip up a batch of cocoa and get to work!
While gardening sounds like a very grownup activity (and it is), it's also an excellent hobby for the younger set. What better way to get kids interested in living the green lifestyle than by giving them a project that they can really sink their teeth into?
Talk over the merits of compost versus commercial fertilizer. Look up non-chemical ways to control pests. Share opinions on why heirloom vegetables matter.
Don't forget the fun part! Give your kids a patch of ground to call their own, and let them choose what plants they'd like to grow. Older kids might like the idea of strawberries, which can be made into freezer jam for year-long enjoyment. Little folks might prefer colorful flowers or fun plants like watermelon.
Once the garden is planned, you can come up with other ideas. Have a "control" plot that receives only minimum care to show the need for good farming practices. Plan a picnic that features the produce from your garden. Visit farmer's markets so your kids can talk to experienced gardeners.
Smashing cans for the recycling center is fun for a few minutes, but there's nothing like the taste of homemade jam on toast while you're watching the snow fall.
What are you planting this spring?