Growing a Garden One Seed at a Time

: 12px;">Sharon Lovejoy, author, children’s gardening expert and naturalist from Cambria, encourages kids with projects like making jump ropes from dandelions and playhouses grown from artfully planted sunflowers. Her book Trowel and Error from Workman Publishing, instructs gardeners with tips and ideas for common garden dilemmas such as keeping bugs at bay and using natural fertilizers. The simple, straightforward advice, imaginative ideas and colorful illustrations make the books enjoyable guides for children and adults.

: 12px;">Lovejoy’s enthusiasm for her subject is contagious as she speaks of hummingbirds and the wonders of earthworms.

: 12px;">"There is nothing more magical than making something spring forth and grow and there is no food that tastes better than when we grow our own," she says.

: 12px;">She suggests that parents start with container gardens in terra-cotta pots to create a "sipping" or butterfly garden. Her sipping garden is a container filled with herbs that can be used to make homemade teas or flavored waters, and her butterfly garden has all the plants to attract butterflies and caterpillars so children can watch the whole cycle from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

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: 12px;">Sharon Lovejoy’s Sipping Garden

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: 12px;">In a large container plant the following herbs:

: 12px;">yerba buena

: 12px;">peppermint

: 12px;">lemon verbena

: 12px;">In the center of the container plant a generous amount of:

: 12px;">lovage

: 12px;">Children can snip the Yerba Buena, Peppermint and Lemon Verbena to create herb-infused lemonade or an herbal tea. Then snip a few of the long hollow stems of Lovage to use as straws.

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: 12px;">Sharon Lovejoy’s Top 20 Plants for Kids

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Pumpkins, gourds, sunflowers, corn, berries, hollyhocks, carrots, mimosa, poppies, tomatoes, trees, alliums, potatoes, woolly lamb’s ear, four-o’clocks, evening primroses, radishes, nasturtium, moon plant and lemon verbana. These plants are described in further detail in her book Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots, from Workman Publishing.