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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Project for Kids: Create a Worm Farm

This is a fun, educational and inexpensive project that demonstrates how earthworms move about in the soil. Earthworms are very helpful in gardens because they move about and all air and water to reach all parts of the soil, which is beneficial to plant roots.

Materials for the project:
* Large glass jar with a lid
* Hammer and nail
* Soil
* Sand
* Oatmeal
* 2 or 3 earthworms
* Black construction paper

1. Add some water to the dry soil and sand, just enough to make them moist.
2. Pour about 1 inch of soil into jar. Sprinkle on a teaspoon of oatmeal. Cover with about an inch of sand. Repeat layers until you are within about 2 inches of the top of the jar.
3. Poke a few holes in the lid of the jar.
4. Place worms in jar and secure lid.
5. Wrap construction paper around jar to provide a dark environment for worms. Place in dark place, out of direct sunlight.
6. In a week or so, remove the paper and check out what the worms have been up to! They should have made tunnels through the sand and soil, looking for the food (oatmeal)... just like worms do in our garden soil, mixing and airating.

* Every week, add a little water to the jar to keep it moist.
* Every six weeks, add a teaspoon of oatmeal for food.
* When the kids are done enjoying the farm, simply dump out in your garden and allow the worms to aerate your soil.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ham Macaroni Salad Recipe

Super-delicious way to use up your leftover hard boiled eggs and Easter ham.

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 1.25 cups uncooked)
1 cup cooked cubed ham
7 oz cubed cheddar cheese
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 cup chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1 T dijon mustard
3/4 cup mayonaise

Mix mustard and mayonaise. Then pour over remaining ingredients and stir to coat. Chill before serving.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Eggshells -- Great for gardening, seed-starting, and fun for kids!

This project is very timely considering Easter is less than a week away. Use your leftover decorated or undecorated shells for this project.

Be sure to check out my tips at the bottom for a kids project and using your cardboard egg cartons.

Eggshell Seed Starters

•eggshells, gently washed and dried
•egg carton, top cut off
•ice pick or awl
•potting soil

Gently break your egg open close to the top, ensuring that you save most of the egg for planting in. Clear out the contents, and carefully gently wash and dry it. Pierce the bottom with an ice pick or awl to provide a drainage hole. Set the eggshell in an egg carton.

Fill each eggshell with soil, drop in 2 to 3 seeds and cover with more soil. Moisten the soil with a mist of water and place the egg carton in a warm, sunny location with good air flow. Keep the soil moist and turn the carton occasionally to ensure even growth.

When it's safe to plant the seedlings outside, you can plant them in the ground -- eggshell and all.

Kids will have a great time dyeing or decorating shells, planting seeds in them, and watching the seedlings grow. Grass or wheat seeds work great for this. Use the seeding directions above, but make sure your potting soil is completely wet, not just moist.

If you don't have eggshells, just use the cardboard carton itself as a seedling tray. Poke a hole in the bottom of each eggcup for drainage and follow the seeding directions above. When you're ready to plant them outside, just cut the eggcups into individual sections and plant them, cardboard and all. The cardboard will biodegrade as the plants grow.

Crushed eggshells add valuable nutrients to your garden. If you have lots of eggshells (left over from Easter, perhaps) check out this info on using them in your garden: .