to plant flowers in.
and herald in the warm, happy, growing seasons
that are spring and summer.
These are the old unicorn food flowers.
The fuzzy-looking purple flowers were from the
dollar section of Michaels -
a very affordable way to fill a flower bed.
But dirt is also good for vegetables! These plastic carrots
were another dollar-store gem - 8 in a pack. They had
powdered candy in them, which I emptied out.
I first saw a similar dirt bed at our local children's
museum and it turned out to be Emily's favorite exhibit.
Each time we were there, we had to play hunt-
the-flowers because the other kids liked them too. It
made me wonder how many little kids would enjoy
planting and picking flowers and vegetables in
their very own dirt patch, so I thought I would do a
tutorial in case their parents wanted to indulge them.
Sadly, it had to be abandoned halfway for two reasons:
Bad. Very bad.
I mean, what is that, for goodness' sake?
Goaty-looking, is all.
Even in focus, they were absolutely unhelpful.
Second, assuming I could even explain how to sew
the brown flannel case, the foam was very
uncooperative to insert into it.
I couldn't possibly, with a clear conscience, subject you
poor folks out there to something like that, could I?
Therefore, here is a modified version of the dirt bed -
this needs a box to contain it so the ends do not have
to be sewn together. If you buy one of those rectangular
planters from a garden store, it might even look a bit
authentic! But any old cardboard box is great. The pattern
below is for a single-furrow dirt bed but you can modify
it for two furrows like the one I made.
Note: The box also provides a nice pressure on the
long sides of the foam to keep the furrows narrow.
But don't make the foam fit too snugly in the other
direction because the end-to-end pressure would
only make the furrows gape open instead.
Now this dirt is so versatile that I'm betting it can also be
made of cardboard! Anything can be made of cardboard,
really, but I'm not going to get started on that here.
Either way, the right fabric will make it work so much
better - so stick to something that has a brushed
surface - flannel, fleece, velvet, velour and the likes
are all good. Avoid silk, satin, quilting cotton,
chiffon - you get the idea.
Another alternative idea came to me as I was in
my neighbor's garage* the other day. She had some
of those foam pool noodles sticking out of a box,
and I'm almost sure that if you cut two or three
equal pieces out of one, wrapped each snugly in fabric,
and stuffed them side by side into a tightly-fitting
box, you'd get some decent dirt, too.
So, now that we've discussed some of the exciting
ways to make dirt, I'll confess why this project took
such a long time to get posted (apart from me
generally being slow, I mean). The dirt itself was
finished in just a few days. But I wanted to go
overboard as usual and make some plants
with pick-able strawberries
you know, to sort of compensate for my
very ungreen thumb with real plants.
Supposed to have been a winter project but look
when it finally got done! Maybe the girls can practise
for the late-summer harvest of the real stuff in our
backyard garden (planted by husband, luckily,
so likely to thrive).
The bendy stems of the plants are fabric-covered
piping with a wire insert. The strawberries and pea
pods have velcro stems that allow them to attach to
little velcro squares on the stems.
When the girls started playing with this
today, even little one-year-old Kate was able to
plant and pick flowers and harvest fruit and vegetables.
She also tried to plant whole strawberries in the dirt,
but at least she got the whole gardening thing right
anyway. More ideas to further complicate this came to
me as I lay in bed but I drew the line at making small
caterpillars to hide among the leaves for the kids to
find. I, who have serious caterpillarphobia!
Lunacy, that's what it was. So I didn't. Phew.
Go to the next posts for tutorials and patterns for
*No, I don't usually lurk in neighbor's garages looking for craft inspiration.
Edited to add the flower patterns - forgot yesterday.