Little Crops for Little Hands

Dwarf crops can fit in just about anywhere and stay at a convenient size for kids.

This is the first episode of 2020!

This year my new years resolution was to bite the bullet and lean fully into gardening with kids. I’m a father who works with kids in a Garden Based Learning environment, and I’ve decided to make that a focus going forward.

There will still be plenty of great gardening content coming up, but now the focus will be on Gardening with kids, both as parents or family members, and as teachers and instructors. That means more activities and crafts to engage kids in gardening, more ways to integrate gardening into education, and more coverage of great ways people everywhere are gardening with kids.

In this episode i talk about dwarf crop varieties for the learning vegetable garden. These miniature powerhouses allow us to pack production into small spaces, grow in containers, and keep the harvest accessible to small gardeners. Specifically I cover three widely available plants you can look out for in this years seed catalogs and get growing this spring.

In this episode

Dwarf Tomatoes – Last Season I interviewed Craig LeHoullier and Patrina Small about the Dwarf Tomato project, if you missed it listen in here, now I’m talking about the advantages of a fully productive heirloom tomato plant that stays at a manageable 4-5 ft tall. I also touch on Micro-dwarfs which can fit in the tiniest of spaces.

Gold Nugget Squash – A compact variety of squash bred to provide a sweet potato replacement in cold short season climates. These medium sized orange squash strongly resemble little pumpkins, and can fit where you couldn’t normally accommodate sprawling pumpkin vines.

Dwarf Blue Jade Sweetcorn – A dwarf heirloom sweetcorn that can even be grown in pots. The stalks only get about 3-4 ft tall, and usually have 1-2 cobs per plant. These can be grown in large pots or grow bags if you plant 3-5 plants for solid pollination. I really enjoyed growing these, and will be growing them from saved seed again next year.

For the Love of Turnips

I may not be able to find as much on their history as I’d like, but let me sell you on this versatile crop.

The Poet William Stafford spent part of his career writing a poem a day, when asked how he managed that he replied “I lowered my standards”. I have no clue if this actually happened or not, but the advice rings true for me.

I’ve been meaning to put more content up on the site but I haven’t, because every time I sit down I start playing around with the title, then deciding on just the right image, then start writing and freeze up when I realize I haven’t done enough of research on the subject. The most important in blogging is to sit down and blog.

So I’m going to try to get 2-3 posts out a week, even if its nothing more than chatting about what I did in the garden today. Even if I create a bunch of completely useless fluff I’ll still have improved my comfort level with writing these posts.

So to kick things off I’m going to talk about Turnips.

Continue reading “For the Love of Turnips”