Monthly Archives: October 2011

Garden Cartoons-Worm Composting

I found these cute pages that are like garden cartoons about worm composting from the University of Illinois Extension.  They teach all about vermicomposting and worms with a cute cartoon worm character–Squirmin Herman the Worm. This is a very educational and fun site for kids and adults.  Check out Herman’s fun place for games and more fun.  Click on worm composting to learn more about how to compost with worms.

Butterfly House & Butterfly Garden Review

Butterfly House is a Great Kids BookButterfly House is a Great Kids Book-Book Review

Butterfly House is a charming, feel good story for children and adults too.  A young girl finds a Painted Lady butterfly caterpillar in her garden and brings it home to her grandfather.  The grandfather gets a shoe box and she and her grandfather create a beautiful house for the caterpillar decorating it, drawing flowers–making a real home for the caterpillar.  She also finds the proper food for the caterpillar.  Then she and her grandfather watch as the caterpillar grows and eats his way to his next stage of life.

After the Butterfly Emerges They Let Him Go

And then it is time to let the butterfly go.  This is a tearful experience for the young girl and her grandfather explains that the butterfly has to fly away in order to find food  and live.  It is one of those bittersweet experiences of childhood.  She has a wonderful relationship with her grandfather saying that if he were young they would be best friends.  He says it doesn’t matter because they are best friends anyway. This book is beautifully illustrated by Greg Shed’s paintings and has an interesting ending.

It’s Not So Easy To Find a Butterfly Larva

Finding a butterfly larva for a Painted Lady butterfly might not be so easy so you might want to order a butterfly garden.  This kit includes a butterfly habitat and you can send away for butterfly larva and food.  My daughter and I did this together and it was a very rewarding experience to raise butterflies.  You could still do the artwork of decorating the habitat as the girl did in Butterfly House.

The Butterfly House book and the Butterfly Garden would make excellent gifts for anyone interested in nature and butterflies.  They complement each other making for an interesting and educational experience.  If you click on the links in this post or the image below you can order these from Amazon.

Growing Seedlings–Use Only the Best Seedlings

Growing Seedlings--Use Only the Best SeedlingsGrowing seedlings can be a very curious thing. Sometimes you can plant seeds from the same packet, in the same dirt and one plant grows beautifully and the other is a “runt.”  There is just no explanation for this except that the small seedling isn’t as robust as the others.

Growing Seedlings That Just Don’t Grow so Well

The picture here shows 3 tomato plants from the same batch of seeds, planted at the same time in the same dirt.  One is beautiful, one is OK and the other has problems.  It is really just unbelievable that these seedlings grow so differently.  Several times I have nurtured a “runt” seedling that just doesn’t grow as well as the rest of the seeds.  And it has never worked out well.

A runt is defined as the smallest animal in a litter.  Often people fall in love with the runt, as in a litter of puppies.  And the runt of the litter can grow into a wonderful pet.

I thought if I give this  small plant extra care and attention it will catch up.  I have done this a few times with cucumbers and tomatoes and the ones I experimented with never catch up.  It has always turned out to be a big waste of time!  Learn from my experiences and when you are growing seedlings,  choose the best ones and don’t feel sorry for the smaller ones. Now I go based on survival of the fittest and use my best seedlings.  I have just wasted too much time with runt seedlings.  It might seem hard but now the runts go into the compost pile.