BEginners in gardening (BIG) Bags- Rideau Lakes Public Library

Gardening and Literacy

RLHS partnered with the Rideau Lakes Public Library (RLPL) to launch a new collection aimed at getting kids aged 5 to 12 involved in gardening. The collection, BIG, for Beginners In Gardening, takes the form of five tote bags, each a kit of resources on a different gardening subject. The topics are wide ranging and cover most of what goes on in a garden throughout the year:

Bag #1: Gardens for Things with Wings – Kids will learn how to plant a garden to attract pollinators and why it’s important to have these winged creatures in our gardens.

Bag #2: Planting your own Flower Garden – Kids will learn how to plant seeds and bulbs and to care for flowering plants throughout the season.

Bag #3: Learn How to Grow Your Food – Kids will learn how to plant and care for vegetables.

Bag #4: What happens in the Garden in Winter– Kids will learn what plants do in winter and how to garden indoors even when it’s cold outside.

Bag #5: Get the Dirt on Composting – Kids will learn the importance of composting and what they can do to make the soil better for the garden.

Each tote bag contains information and tools pertinent to the bag’s subject. For example, Gardens for Things with Wings might include:

  • 1 or 2 library books relevant to the topic

  • Net or bug catching kit

  • Garden tools and gloves

  • Watering can

  • Packets of seeds (or bulbs in fall) of simple plants to grow to attract pollinators (e.g. sunflowers, coneflowers, cosmos)

  • Small hand-held magnifying glass

  • Journal and pencil case with coloured pencils, eraser, etc.

  • Activity booklet – simple projects like how to re-purpose household items to make a simple mason bee house, a butterfly watering hole, a bird bath or a bird house

  • Laminated graphic on top things to avoid when exploring outdoors (poison ivy, wild parsnip, fuzzy caterpillars, etc.)

Each tote bag also includes a checklist of the bag’s contents, indicating what patrons can keep and what they need to return. Once launched, details on what is in each BIG Bag will be on the RLHS and RLPL websites.

About the books in the bags

There are currently seven books in all. Descriptions are below. Some are specific to a topic and some could be useful for more than one topic. We may add more or different books as we get feedback from Library patrons.

My Busy Green Garden (by Terry Pierce, Tilbury House Publishers: 2017)

My Busy Green Garden describes how insects, birds and other creatures make a garden a very busy place. the story. (Bag#1, Gardens for Things With Wings)

Bees, Bugs and Butterflies (by Ben Raskin, Roost Books: 2018)

Bees, Bugs and Butterflies is described as a family guide for gardening. It is intended as a beginner guide for families wanting to explore and encourage insect life in their gardens. (Bag#1, Gardens for Things With Wings)

Planting a Rainbow (by Lois Ehlert, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 1988)

Planting a Rainbow is about a mother and child planting a flower garden in every colour of the rainbow. Starting with bulbs in the fall and sowing seeds in the spring, it provides a list of what to grow according to colour.(Bag #2, Planting Your Own Flower Garden)

A Seed Is Sleepy (by Diana Hutts Aston, Chronicle Books LLC: 2007)

A Seed Is Sleepy shows the many forms seeds can take and the different plants seeds can grow into. It talks about seed structures, the dormancy seeds need, what they need to wake up and what happens when they do. (Bag #3, Learn How to Grow Your Food)

Grow (by Ben Raskin, Roost Books: 2017)

Grow is similar to Bees, Bugs and Butterflies, only that it is intended as a guide for growing vegetables and fruit. (Bag #3, Learn How to Grow Your Food)

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (by Kate Messner, Chronicle Books LLC: 2015)

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt takes us through the gardening year with a grandmother and her grandchild. While grandmother and grandchild are busy planning, planting, taking care of and harvesting their garden, natural life is also active in the garden as insects, worms, animals, birds and snakes all play their part.(Bag #4, What Happens to the Garden in Winter)

Compost Stew (by Mary McKenna Siddals, Tricycle Press: 2010)

Compost Stew is a primer on how to make compost: what to put in and what not to put in and how to process it. (Bag #5, Get the Dirt on Composting)

Thank you to MJ Leblanc, Marsha Ferguson, as well as RLPL’s Vicki Stevenson and Laura Lee Davies, for bringing this project to completion.