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Sep 23, 2010

some PEANUTS for my peanut gallery- kinderGARDENS Finale!

Can you believe we've been doing this since April? Wow - almost 6 months of kinderGARDEN updates, and it's been so fun! I have always included the kids in the garden, mostly out of necessity since it's not like I can leave them alone in the house, they'd burn it down - but this contest really enabled their personalities to shine in their creativity and ideas and is definitely something we will always enjoy doing together.

On to the week's big event: The Peanut Box!

After filming this I researched it and my instincts are right, we will leave them until the plants turn yellow and start to die off before harvesting. This enables the shell/pod to mature and cure properly. If you want to learn more about harvesting peanuts, check this link. There are GOBS of peanuts in this little space and the plants are already taking on a yellowish hue, so I think we will definitely have enough to try the kids idea of homemade peanut butter soon, probably mid-October.

In the interest of at least showing a sneak preview of what we are in for, below is a shot of what came off of one of the plants we tested:

Although with our record-breaking hot summer the "green roof" didn't work out, the kids did a great job of supplementing that with a few other projects besides that and the peanut box.

Summary in photos of the past 6 months of kinderGARDENS highlights!

When Loch announced that his teacher always wanted a garden but she lives in an apartment, the kids packed a box of goodies to take in to her on the last day of school!

The kids got to experience the building side of things in the garden when they helped make the peanut box out of scrap with Daddy before he left for deployment.

Planting seeds

I do a program with the Master Gardeners for 1st Graders called "Ready, Set, Grow!" and the kids inspired a new idea this year all about kids in the garden, and helped me create this display which was an absolute hit in the classrooms!

Kim, who hosts the kinderGARDENS contest sent Loch a fantastic book, highly recommend it - it is entertaining and educational for both kids & adults.

Everyone knows what a fan I am of violations of the child labor laws... they picked many a berry on 100 degree days and squeezed many lemons...

but the rewards were worth it!

We learned all about our garden friends up close...

they were sent out "on assignment" to photograph and caption anything they want...

Finn's caption for the above was... "I like Dill and I wanna smell it every day"
me too!

they learned about saving seed

they were surprised and excited when Miss Gina mailed them some flower seeds in support of their kinderGARDENS activities, and then a trip out to her flower farm where she taught them how to snip the flowers they wanted to bring home and got to meet the chickens that laid the eggs we brought home.

They have impressed me with their creativity - below is what happened when I was busy mowing the lawn and left my shed open...a scarecrow built from whatever they could find!

and of course there was plenty of time to just have a little fun!

I am sure most of you know that my husband/their father has been deployed to the Middle East for the past 4+ months, so I just want to say "thank you!" to Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer for putting this contest together and all the participants for giving me a project that has made the time go by quickly! Every time my alarm on my computer calendar goes off saying "kinderGARDENS update" gives me motivation to get out there with my kids and DO something. Missing hubby and their daddy certainly gives me some "blech" days, which might be fine to indulge in during the winter, but with 2 kids out of school in the summertime I definitely can't get away with "blech" days! We got some great ideas for next year from other participants and have learned so much from everyone!

Check in to The Inadvertent Farmer to see all the participants' final posts of the contest, it's been fun!


  1. What a wonderful post about your garden season...I just love the fact that you got to grow your own peanuts! How cool is that?

    I'm sorry about your living roof but unfortunately this summer's weather was either too hot or too cool for much of the country...sigh.

    And as far as leaving kiddos in the house...I completely understand, lol!

    Great, great job guys! Enjoy your peanut butter...Kim

  2. What a great post, and a great summer! Growing up at your house looks like a blast!

    Thank you to your husband for his honorable service to our country!!! I hope he gets to come home to all of you soon!

    Rachymommy - MommyTopics.com

  3. I love the summary, the scarecrow is priceless! The boys are growing and changing aren't they?

    We liked the peanut video, I am looking forward to the next installment.

  4. I so enjoyed your garden updates for KinderGardens! ... even when your boys were all hot and sweaty from berry picking! Those pics were just awesome! I've come to enjoy your blog so much this summer.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your peanut harvest. Will the boys want them roasted, and will you be grinding them for peanut butter?

    Have a great weekend. :>)

  5. Kim, I agree - weird weather all around!

    MommyTopics, I bet my kids would have a different opinion, I definitely have my "off days" where its not so much fun around here LOL - and I will pass on the good wishes to hubby and his crew!

    Kelly, did you catch the dog toy around the scarecrow's neck? A few days later Sprocket knocked it down trying to get her toy, but at first I couldn't figure out why she was attacking the scarecrow LOL

    Conny, thanks, it sure was fun surfing all the other people's posts as well, so nice to know I'm not alone in the fight against video games and couch potato kids! I haven't looked into the peanut butter thing fully yet, but I'll make a plan in the next month. Ever since the kids got to use the fresh peanut butter grinding machine at our local coop they have wanted to do it at home!

  6. GREAT summary post! So enjoyed seeing a recap of the summer and all the wonderful pictures again. Can hardly wait for the peanut butter!

  7. What success - you are an awesome woman! Peace

  8. love the scarecrow (too cute!), and so awesome that you all got peanuts, too! i was so excited when we pulled ours out of the ground. looks like a wonderful summer of gardening, despite the setbacks you encountered. great post!! :)

  9. This is such an awesome post Erin! Congrats on the peanuts! Maybe you should put some bird netting over the box to deter the squirrels! I'm wondering now if they will grow here.

    What a great gift. Now I know what Jonathan's teachers are going to be getting!

  10. Thanks for the details on how to grow peanuts, I am hoping to try it next year although I think I'll have to do it in a green house since they need warm weather.

    KinderGardens was a great distraction for many of us this summer, and a great coach!

    Our prayers are with the safe return of your husband and daddy!

  11. The peanuts are fantastic! I love all of your pix and your season was fun to watch!

  12. LOVE the peanut video! You guys did a great job with a unique crop. :)

  13. Our youngest wanted to try and grow peanuts this year - only she just recently asked if we could try. I'll have to check into it some more, so thank you for posting the link. Maybe we'll get to try it next year.
    I hope your hubby will be back soon. We're a retired military family and I know what deployment is like. Best wishes to you and the rest of the family.

  14. I've so enjoyed watching you and then boys working in the garden this summer. I've learned too! How awesome to get peanuts.

  15. I've really enjoyed your posts this summer. I hope next year's weather cooperates better with you because I loved your living roof idea and was sad to see it burn up. The peanuts are awesome! Good job!