As the saying goes April showers bring May flowers and that has certainly held up here in Madison. After having consistent rain in April today we finally have a warm sunny spring day and all the spring flowers have sprung. While walking around I noticed most of our trees are budding. It is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the outdoors and garden.
MGG knows that many are struggling with being quarantined and would like to do our part to ease the boredom. I have been a horticulturist for six years with most of that time focused on education horticulture for kids and adults. During that time I have gathered and developed several educational and fun games that can be played by all ages. I hope these help you to get out into your garden! As a bonus, these games help beautify your garden without using toxic pesticides.
You need a minimum of two people with no maximum.
The garden Olympics is made up of several events. You can play one or all of them. If you are playing with kids, you can even get creative and make your own trophies out of nature!
Weed-a-thon Select a weedy part of your garden and make sure all players can identify what is a weed. Then select a time you want to weed for. I recommend starting with five minutes and building up. The goal is to weed as much as you can within that time frame. However, you get a time penalty for each wanted plant that was pulled and weeds that were only partially removed. The penalty is up to you. A smaller time penalty is generally recommended for younger kids or harder to identify weeds i.e. weeding crabgrass from the grass. The winner is whoever pulled the most weeds with the lowest time penalty.
Bracelet making: Take a break from weeding and see who can make the best bracelet out of weeds. It works best with crab grassroots!
Best weed: See who can dig up the longest tap root of a dandelion or the longest root of a crabgrass.
Catch a bug: Fill cups up with soapy water. Then go around your yard and see who can collect the most Japanese beetles in a set amount of time.
Other ways to enhance your garden experience:
Plant ID: Download a plant ID app and walk around your neighborhood identifying plants. Then on your next walk see how many plant IDs you can remember. Try adding plants to your ID knowledge on each walk. See how many plants you can ID by the end of quarantine.
Soil Fun: Do you know what kind of soil you have? This is a fun way to get your hands dirty and learn what kind of soil you have! This chart walks you through step by step on how to do this: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/edu/?cid=nrcs142p2_054311 Fun fact this was my first soils lab I had in college! You get to try your hand at being a soil scientist!
I hope you enjoy these activities!