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Kids Can Start a Garden Indoors

by Tania Cowling | March 25th, 2015 | Elementary, Social

child gardening (400x400)When “cabin fever” gives way to “spring fever”, we all feel energized. It’s that “start something time of the year”—a garden could be just that project. An activity where parents and kids can bond and socialize. When the frost is gone, a small plot of ground in a sunny place is best, but until then containers of all sorts and sizes can give the pleasure of gardening indoors. It’s important to discuss the life cycle of a plant with your child. Look for books in the library with colorful illustrations. Here are a few concepts to convey:

  • First a seed is planted which needs air, water, food and the sun to grow.
  • A small root grows from the seed.
  • Next a small shoot appears.
  • The young plant matures developing leaves and flowers.
  • The flowers produce seeds, seedpods, or fruit. These seeds can be replanted and the cycle is repeated.

Kid Cultivators

The earliest of spring gardens can be started indoors. One such garden can be made with an empty egg carton and eggshell halves. Place the eggshell halves into each section of the carton. Fill the shells with potting soil and the kids can carefully plant seeds in each one. Purchase a variety of seed packets for this project. Keep the egg carton closed so that the seeds will stay warm and sprout more quickly, watering the soil as necessary to keep it moist. After the seeds have sprouted and grown into seedlings, you and your child can plant the eggshells outside, crushing them slightly before placing them in the ground. This is also a good time to compare seeds with their end product via pictures.

Gardening in the Kitchen

Start a plant from another plant; these are some of the lessons your child will learn from gardening in the kitchen. Almost any seed or cutting can produce some greenery. Gather some containers, cut down milk cartons, jars, and dishes and proceed to start a mini garden in the comfort of your cozy kitchen. Keep a journal weekly and record the growing process with words and illustrations. Try these:

  • Popcorn Pie—Few of us consider that this favorite snack is really a seed, before it’s popped. Fill a pie plate with potting soil and plant the kernels near the surface. Keep the soil moist. Within a week you’ll see the first buds of popcorn pie.
  • Sweet potatoes are easily grown, but you need the whole potato, not just the peelings. Stick toothpicks around the potato and put it halfway into a jar of water. Be sure that the sprout side is up and the root side is down. The vine will grow almost like the one in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” It’s fun to wind the vine around a window, measure its growth.
  • Sprout kidney beans or lima beans in a jar. Fill a clear glass jar with a sponge. Pour water over the sponge to moisten it thoroughly. Place a few beans between the sponge and the side of the jar. It’s neat to watch the plant break out of the seed, shed the seed shell, and grow.
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