Cedar Ring Mama

Taking My Cues From Mother Earth

Waldorf Book Review- Green Fingers and Muddy Boots

4 Comments

I’ve been wanting to offer a weekly book review for some time, since there are so many Waldorf titles and it can be hard to decide which ones are gems and which ones might sit on the shelf and collect a bit of dust (plus my official status as Waldorf book reviewer is a great excuse to add to my collection, ha ha!).

One book our family has been enjoying lately is Green Fingers and Muddy Boots: A Year in the Garden for Children and Families.

greenfingers

We are using this as part of our science curriculum, and it was actually developed by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society of Scotland to be a very accessible guide for 7-14 year olds wanting to learn the art of gardening. It comes with a cd-rom of 34 printable worksheets, which your child can complete and then send for a “Young Gardener Certificate” directly from the Society (worksheets are not so Waldorfy, but if you don’t care about the certificate, you can just use them as a “Teacher’s Guide” in implementing the projects).  My eight-year-old has his binder filled with worksheets and is excitedly completing them to get his certificate- which is also helping practice reading and writing, as we have finished our fairytales and quite honestly, both he and I are tired of fairytales after a year of “first grade lite” after I realized he wasn’t quite ready with an April birthday, and then “first grade for real”. The book is prompting us to learn all sorts of unexpected things as we go on bunny trails to find out, for instance, what our exact altitude is (I looked on the google map- about 3000 feet above sea level!).  The worksheets follow along with the projects in the book, which are designed to encompass one year in the garden (12 months of activities and learning), as follows:

  1. Recording the weather
  2. Wildlife in your garden
  3. Keeping a garden diary
  4. Garden Tools
  5. Hazards in the Garden
  6. Making a Bird Table
  7. Bug Safari
  8. Experimenting with Soil
  9. Making a Mini Compost Heap
  10. Drawing and Naming Plants
  11. Trees
  12. Identifying Common Weeds
  13. Sowing Seeds
  14. Pricking Out
  15. Growing Sunflowers
  16. Seed Collecting
  17. Taking Cuttings
  18. Growing Spring Bulbs in Pots
  19. Growing Potatoes in a Bucket
  20. Growing Plants in Shopping Bags
  21. What Are My Vegetables Worth?
  22. Garden Vegetable Soup
  23. Fresh Fruit Tasting
  24. Hanging Baskets
  25. Making A Pallet Garden
  26. Watching Seeds Germinate
  27. Making a Floral Necklace
  28. Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh
  29. Grass Heads
  30. Garden Scarecrow
  31. Drying Flowers & Leaves
  32. Floral Decorations
  33. Making Monsters
  34. Christmas Decorations

When I was deciding which book to start with for what I hope will be a weekly, or at least bi-weekly, review, I had just received news that GMO wheat has been identified as having “jumped” test fields and is now infiltrating traditional wheat fields.  Will other countries who are more proactive about protecting food supplies from GMO’s now stop importing our wheat and wheat products?  Will Monsanto begin to sue the poor farmers whose fields are accidentally infiltrated, as they have in the past with corn crops?  What will happen to the animals who eat this wheat… and the people… over the long-term?  With wheat being a cereal grass, what other crops may be at risk of cross-contamination?  Teaching our children the art of maintaining their own food supply and protecting food diversity has never seemed so important to me than now.  Even without a plot of land, we can grow bucket potatoes, herb pots, and shopping-bag-veggies and translate the wonder of growing things to children.

I am pairing this book in our gardening lessons with the amazing Stella Natura 2013 Biodynamic Calendar, which prompts a deep connection to the cycles of the earth.  What constellations is the moon crossing?  When are eclipses, perigees, apogees, and planetary conjunctions and oppositions? Which are good dates to plant and harvest by the moon (harvesting at the right time means less rot and better storage quality!)?  What about retrogrades?  This has prompted deeper inquiry into astronomy, and the beautifully illustrated Stargazer’s Almanac 2013, designed for naked eye viewing (no telescope necessary!), has been poured over with enthusiasm.  All of these books lend fresh eyes of wonder, and for some reason, a feeling of familiarity… as if we already know these ancient rhythms and laws of nature deep down, and are just being reminded.

Gardening with a newborn has been challenging this year, so I have been thankful for my son’s enthusiasm… we have managed to get our heirloom, certified GMO-free corn planted, along with beans and various greens, so far.  The children have been excitedly helping me either plant seeds or decorate the beds.

DSC_8545

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I’ve been planting lots of spirals this year, since I find in nature, the plant world doesn’t really come in squares or rectangles, does it?  I also seem to fit and grow more in small spaces using concentric circles.  Wait til you see our strawberry patch, a huge circle spilling over with abundant, luscious strawberry plants- and much easier to weed than our rectangle patch, too- but I’ll wait til the strawberries are ripe before I post photos.

Last day of the big shop sale, and to enter the giveaway… 😉

4 thoughts on “Waldorf Book Review- Green Fingers and Muddy Boots

  1. Sounds PERFECT!!!!!!!! Thanks for this review!!!!

  2. Thanks for the review. Would it work for those in the Southern Hemisphere,and those with a different climate type?

    • I think you can still do most, if not all the projects- you would just have to switch the time of year you did them. Also, there will be some plants mentioned that would not be local- but they were not all local to us, either as Europe has different varieties.

  3. I thiink I will check this one out!

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