Our “Maybe” Family Garden

Earlier this year Family and Consumer Sciences Extension staff promoted the Manage Your Money online challenge.  I wrote “Why I Am Bringing Work Home” to show how I value FCS programming professionally as well as personally.

On the first full day of spring 2015, I spent some time with my family in the yard pulling out some toys that were in storage and raking some wayward autumn leaves.  Although we’re not far into the steps of “turning family dreams into reality” in regards to our backyard plans, we did start discussing and mapping out some future projects.  For a new project to work in our urban backyard (with two full-time working adults) it has to be low-maintenance, low-cost and high-impact.  I’m posting this “before” picture with some apprehension.  Basically, the “before” indicates there will be an “after” and as a family we haven’t set SMART goals for this “maybe” garden space yet.

Spring cleaning in a drizzle.  Leaf covered herb spiral in foreground.

Spring cleaning in a drizzle. Leaf covered herb spiral in foreground.












Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County is offering a lesson titled The Maybe (Family) Garden. This class will be offered in partnership with the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg, Ohio. Not only does the 577 Foundation offer excellent classes for all ages on all topics, they are also a free community resource (although there is a cost for classes) with too many opportunities, activities and tours to list in this paragraph.  The Maybe Garden will be offered on May 3, 2015 for adults and their children in grades two through five.  Please register with the 577 Foundation.

The “Maybe” Family Garden program, in addition to some of my current backyard dreams are inspired by the book The Maybe GardenThe Maybe Garden was written by Kimberly Burke-Weiner and illustrated by Frederika P. Spillman. The book cover describes, “A beautiful, poetic story about a young child’s quest to become an independent and creative thinker. The child uses Mother’s ordinary suggestions for a garden as a springboard for unique and original ideas. Through the child’s creativity, the spirit of the rest of the neighborhood is also sparked and the magic blooms in other gardens as well”.

In my backyard, one “maybe” project for this summer is an outdoor play kitchen.  We will call it either our “Summer Kitchen” or the “Mud Pie Kitchen”.  This idea reminds me of a merger of the two rhymes describing little boys and little girls.  At different times, don’t all young boys and girls have a mix of some “sugar and spice”, “snips and snails”, “everything nice” and “puppy dog tails”?  Our outdoor kitchen will have a combination of toys like cups and spoons and trowels and rakes. In addition, there will be plenty of nature made toys like stones and soil and sticks and buckeyes. I am excited to welcome a new season in Northwest Ohio and to share one more example of “why I am bringing work home” this springtime.

Gardening is a great activity for all ages. Gardens can be simple or elaborate – choose the best options for your interest, time and space. Looking for Theme Garden Idea Starters? In this list, some of the gardens have edible plants, some focus on learning; some are for beautification and most are for sharing. What will you grow? Theme Garden handout 2015

For ideas on gardening with youth, read the Parents’ Primer from the National Gardening Association. For tips on planning the family garden, click here Planning Garden 2015