Kids Pumpkin Patch

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Kids can grow their own pumpkin patch from seeds in the spring or with organic starter plants from their local nursery in the summer. Kids and their folks can plant the pumpkins in a raised wooden garden bed filled with organic soil and compost with an inexpensive drip watering system and battery run timer. Two weeks after planting the seeds, kids can see green shoots spring from the soil. Pumpkin plants don’t stand tall. Their long tangled vines sprawl all over the ground with broad leaves and bright orange flowers. During the cool nights and early mornings kids can watch bees buss about carrying yellow pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. By the end of summer the flowers wither and kids can find tiny hard fruits beginning to grow where the flowers had bloomed. In the fall the fruits grow larger and larger, changing color from green to yellow to orange. Pumpkins like other squashes are rich in beta carotene which is good for skin, lungs, heart, and eyes, and are good in soups, pasta, and pies. Kids can decorate for autumn with their pumpkins, making jack-o-lanterns, vases, candlesticks, candy bowls, or arrangements on the mantel, at the door, and on the patio. Kids can roast the vitamin rich pumpkin seeds for a delicious snack by washing and drying the seeds thoroughly. Mix the seeds with 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil and ¼ tsp sea salt in a bowl, spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and toast them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring until crispy and golden. Pumpkin patches are fun to grow, pumpkin pies are yummy, and pumpkin displays are fall delights for kids of all ages.

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