My shopping cart
Your cart is currently empty.Continue Shopping
If you have ever ventured a few minutes of your time on HGTV you will surely know Joanna Gaines. Although most of her Magnolia brand is driven by the finer things, in her book, We Are the Gardeners, Gaines delicately details her family’s trials and tribulations of starting their own garden. Fancifully illustrated by Julianna Swaney, the story is of Gaines and her children's attempts, both successes and failures, at vegetable and flower gardening. If you want to introduce your kids to the world of growing this is such a great book to start your own story.
If you need help on your first chapter, we have a fun way to start a gardening adventure with your kids next summer. Why not grow a really cool Sunflower House. Your kids will love it. You only need about 4 or 5 square meters of sunny area in your yard to begin a lifelong love of growing.
Day Four of our Twenty-Four Straight Days of Giveaways is Joanna Gaines’ book We Are The Gardeners, and three packs of seeds that allow you to “build” your very own Sunflower House with your kids. Easy Peasy. Take a look.
Sunflower House Instructions
This child friendly project will take about 45 min total. The layout is about 30 minutes and should be mostly done by a parent or older child, and then the planting portion which will take about 15 minutes. We encourage parents to only explain to your child(ren) and let them “build” / plant the seeds for the House.
Supplies required are a sunny spot, a shovel, a pack of sunflower seeds and one or two packs of vegetable or edible flower seeds. For this project we've chosen Goldy Double Sunflowers, Radishes and Lettuce.
You will need to find an area of your yard that enjoys full sunshine during the day. Sunflowers do better in the full sun and so will the vegetables planted at the base.
OK parents, you’re up. You will begin by marking out a circle of about two to three meters in diameter. If there will be three or more kids using the house, they will get more out of it if the circle is bigger. You can use a one meter piece of string anchored at the centre point to make a 2m circle, and simply adjust the length of string for larger circles. And remember it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Now position and mark a 60 to 75 cm “door” or opening on the part of the circle you wish to use as an entrance to the House, you will not be planting any flowers here. We recommend that with young kids, your opening is on the side of the circle that you can easily see inside from wherever you enjoy watching them play.
You should now have a two to three meter circle marked on the ground with your access opening facing you. Now you can remove the sod and/or loosen the soil in a 20 to 30 cm wide band following along the outside of the circle you have marked. Place the dirt or grass on the outside of the band to keep the inside of the House from getting muddy. If you have compost or a little fertilizer you can sprinkle in the trench before continuing.
Now it's the kids turn. Have them make three furrows, trenches or race car tracks in consecutive rings in the large circle from one side of the “door” opening all the way around to the side. For an easy explanation, try your first trench one adult hand width from the outside and one the same from the inside of the large trench, the third one then simply goes in between. They don’t need to be very deep; only 2 to 4 cm works just fine. Sometimes you can even do this just with your finger.
In the trench closest to the inside or grassy centre of the circle your kids will plant sunflower seeds at a spacing of about one every 30 cm (again tell your kids to use common spacing like, three hand lengths, or two shoe lengths) starting right at the opening all the way around to the other opening. The seeds can now be buried by gently raking about 2cm of soil back over the seed. You don’t need them to be any deeper.
Now repeat the same for the radishes in the middle trench which can be liberally sprinkled only a few cm apart the entire way around the circle. And again in the outside furrow, for the lettuce using the same spacing. A little trick is only to give enough seed to your kids as they can plant in a quarter of the circle, this way you won’t run out. You now have three completely seeded rings working from the inside of the circle with sunflowers to the outside circle of lettuce.
The kids should water the trench now so they understand they will water the trench every day if it doesn’t rain a little bit.
Your sunflower house will grow quickly. The “walls” will rise up to provide a great circular room for your kids to play in till well past Thanksgiving. And the radish and lettuce will thrive at their feet to be harvested whenever they are ready. You can experiment with cutting some lettuce when it is 10 cm or higher which won’t take long. Your kids will be over the moon to know they are eating something they planted from seed and the House is the coolest place to play all summer long.
For a chance to win a copy of We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and a pack of each Goldy Double Sunflowers, Radishes and Lettuce leave a comment below. In your message share what you remember most about gardening as a child, how to get kids involved in gardening or what has brought you joy in the past months, anything really, as long as it's meant to pick people up. EASY. This giveaway is open to anyone with a Canadian shipping address only. Contest is open December 4th for 24 hours. Closes December 4th at midnight PT.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulation to Andrea!
Of course, if you know someone who wants to get their kids into gardening please share!
Heidi and Kevin
Learn more and connect with Joanna Gaines
Please note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don't fret; we have a spam filter that requires we approve comments before they are published.