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Cocoa Bean Mulch: Poison for Pets!

For years, I have longed for the sweet-smelling cocoa bean mulch for my garden, after hearing it mentioned numerous times on TV gardening shows. But now it seems that it can be harmful to pets if ingested. You can imagine how a dog with a sweet tooth might taste cocoa bean mulch, since it smells just like chocolate, which also is harmful to dogs. If you'd like to read more, go to Pet Poison Alert - Cocoa Bean Mulch.

Gardening With Children: Don't Miss Out On This Joy!


According to recent studies, time spent outdoors has decreased by 50% in the past 20 years. Thanks to the popularity of electronics, children now spend an average of 6 hours daily watching TV, playing video games, or using a computer. 

When I was a child, if we didn't want to play outdoors, my mother made sure we did anyway. Nowadays, perhaps we as parents are so busy that we don't think about it. Or maybe the children are simply following our example. At any rate, children are fatter and less healthy as a result of living sedentary lifestyles. In addition to health problems, staying indoors more has decreased awareness of the environment and the value of nature. I myself am guilty of enjoying my gardening tasks without involving the children. However, something just occurred to me--if gardening is a source of joy for me, relieving stress while providing exercise, it can do that for my children too! 

Yesterday we pruned together, and this afternoon, we'll be planning a garden! Children love to plant things. Even though we're in the middle of winter, now is the time to plant many cool season vegetables. Consider letting your child help you plant some Sugar Snap Peas, Beets, Radishes, and Lettuces. These seeds germinate quickly, which will excite your child about his garden. Flowers to plant now from seed are Larkspur and Poppies.

If you don't have a garden in which to do your planting, just get some large pots. Then your child can have a garden even if you have only a patio or porch. What and where you plant your garden will not be nearly as important as the time you spend with your child. Remember to take photos of your little ones planting their seeds. The pictures will mean alot to you when the children are older. And the children will remember this time spent with you.