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I've got a lot of room for improvement in this area! I've just spent the past several weeks plotting how much sunlight is cast in several parts of our front & back yards (yes, I'm that much of a beginner). This year, I will plant tomatoes & possibly cucumbers - as well as sunflowers. It's gonna be a busy month!


I am actually trying to grow a citrus tree in my Manhattan office...I think I might be a couple of decades away from serving up lemonade but I nevertheless find it soothing to care for the thing...Isn't being green about baby steps?:-)


I love to garden! But we have a very tiny, very shaded yard. There are really only two spots to put anything and I use both spots for pumpkins. We just had a discussion the other day about how maybe I should grow tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers, but I can't give up one of my pumpkin patches!!! I'm a bit obsessed...

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

Good luck with it, Debi! Sunflowers sound lovely...and very French!

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

Yes, that's the spirit, Stephanie!

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

Janna, do you bake pies with them? I'm sure Halloween is a lot of fun!


I make EVERYTHING with my pumpkins - pies, bread, muffins, pancakes, smoothies, soup, beans & rice stuffed pumpkins for dinner, pumpkin lattes...

Oh & I put pumpkins in my planter pots & on the front porch for decoration. My kids & I paint polka dots & stripes on the pumpkins and of course, carve some of them!

But maybe I'll put tomatoes & lettuce in pots this year, so I can move them around so they'll get enough sun. Also, I've always wanted to grow a hibiscus tree. My sister has two gorgeous ones in Georgia, but they don't really grow here in Oregon. Maybe I'll try it this summer with a small plant & bring it inside when it freezes. Your lemon is darling!

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

That's an impressive amount of pumpkin recipes! My mother-in-law makes a pumpkin flan every year for one of the Thanksgiving desserts and it is AMAZING.

Alex C Jones

One summer when I was 12 or 13, I grew popcorn in the back yard. I ripped up patch of sod making a rectangle that was about 5 feet by 10 feet -- that is 50 square feet. Made a 3 by 4 array of 12 small mounds, planted 5 seeds in each. When the young stalks poked about an inch through the soil, I removed the smallest 3 in each mound as the instructions said. Then there was fighting the bugs etc. At the end of the summer, I harvested the ears, and scraped the kernels off into a jar. It was about a half a cup. I put them in a skillet and popped them, and we ate it all in 1 night. 50 square feet of yard just for that! I learned why people do not usually grow any kind of corn in a vegetable garden.

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

That's so funny, Alex! Lesson learned indeed. And yeah, "fighting the bugs" is my least favorite part of growing any foods.

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Green Books for Children

  • Igor Siwanowicz: Animals Up Close

    Igor Siwanowicz: Animals Up Close
    See review under Green Books, 11/12/2012

  • Helen Frost: Step Gently Out

    Helen Frost: Step Gently Out
    For commentary, see "Savoring the Last of Summer" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Leo Lionni: Frederick [English Edition]

    Leo Lionni: Frederick [English Edition]
    For commentary, see "Savoring the Last of Summer" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Terry Allan Hicks: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Tell Me Why, Tell Me How)

    Terry Allan Hicks: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Tell Me Why, Tell Me How)
    For commentary, see "Appreciating Autumn" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Betsy Maestro: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)

    Betsy Maestro: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)
    For commentary, see "Appreciating Autumn" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Alison Inches: I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Little Green Books)

    Alison Inches: I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Little Green Books)
    "One little monster learns to reduce, reuse, and recycle." That's all good, of course, but my own children laugh out loud every time they read how Max the Little Monster (before his attitude adjustment) clogs up the toilet with too much toilet paper, yelling "Hungry Toilet!" Kids...they just love the potty humor. Made from 100% recycled paper.

  • Julia Rawlinson: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

    Julia Rawlinson: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
    This book is incredibly sweet. A sensitive, little fox named Fletcher cannot understand what is happening to his beloved tree at the onset of autumn, and he tries everything in his power to keep the leaves on the tree. When he wakes up one winter morning to find his tree covered in dazzlingly beautiful snow crystals, it chokes me up every time. Although it's not about saving the earth, the book is a lovely tribute to nature and its seasons.

  • Diane Muldrow: We Planted a Tree

    Diane Muldrow: We Planted a Tree
    I love how this relatively new book (published in 2010) is charmingly illustrated in the same style as those Little Golden Books from the 1960's. In simple prose, the book explains what happens when you plant a tree and watch it grow, while enjoying the benefits of fruit, shade, budding flowers, and cleaner air.

  • Dr. Seuss: The Lorax (Classic Seuss)

    Dr. Seuss: The Lorax (Classic Seuss)
    This book is a classic for a reason. As I was reading it for the first time to my children, I could see the shock and sadness on their faces when the very first Truffula Tree was chopped down. Unlike the progression of The Curious Garden (see below), things just keep getting worse--all in the name of "progress." It ends with a powerful message: "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Great for generating conversations with young children about caring for and protecting natural resources. Printed on recycled paper.

  • Peter Brown: The Curious Garden

    Peter Brown: The Curious Garden
    First, I have to admit it: As a mom, I'm *slightly* bothered that a little boy is walking around a creepy city all by himself, and "stumbles upon a dark stairwell" which he decides to head up. However, this book is simply magical, so I'll chalk it up to "willing suspension of disbelief" and let it go. With each page, as Liam grows from a novice gardener into a Green Thumb Extraordinaire, the dreary city in which everybody stays inside becomes a green utopia that everybody enjoys. Liam helps the whole city to bloom, and changes the mindsets of its citizens, simply by taking the first steps and sticking to his mission--without any preaching whatsoever. My favorite parts are the multiple spreads with no words at all, which depict how the gray, dirty city is growing greener and cleaner with the passage of time, thanks to our hero. Printed on recycled paper.

Green Books for Adults