Pacific Northwest

March, 2012
Regional Report

Web Finds

WSU Estension Master Gardener Teaching Kits
Spring is a great time to introduce youngsters to gardening, and if you're responsible for a classroom, church group, scout group, or any other group of interested students you may want to check out one of Teaching Kits put together by WSU King County Master Gardeners.

These curricular resources can be borrowed for three weeks at no charge. Each kit is a classroom in a box focusing on one scientific concept with curricula that can be easily adjusted to any age group, from kindergartners to teenagers to adults. Kits contain videos, hand lenses, Petri dishes, posters, storybooks, puppets, brochures and flyers. In addition, there is a handbook with background information, diagrams, worksheets, teaching tips and lesson plans. A folding luggage cart is provided for easy transport.

Every kit is tailored to its subject. For instance, the water kit includes a watershed model that can be used to illustrate the cause and effects of pollution by demonstrating water runoff from our homes to the lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound.

There are currently 12 kits available. Topics include Roots and Shoots; Seeds and Flowers; Insects; Pollinators; Trees; Water; Native Plants/Wildlife Habitat; Soil and Compost; Observation Chamber; Worms; Recycling; Mini Worm Bin. Each kit may be checked out for three weeks.

Visit the following website for more information: WSU Extension Teaching Kits.

Favorite or New Plant

Snapdragons are old-fashioned favorites that are easy to grow, either from seed or from young transplants. Children love to play with the blossoms, pushing the "dragon jaws" open and then allowing the jaws to snap shut. I like to position taller varieties toward the middle to back of a border and the smaller snapdragons at the front of beds. The tallest varieties benefit from staking to keep them upright, but the dwarf and intermediate types do not require staking. Some cultivars produce double flowers, such as the Butterfly Series. Some of the dwarf kinds, such as 'Floral Carpet' and 'Tahiti', are excellent for containers and window boxes.

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