|Kids love to watch things grow and itís great for them to learn how to garden. When they harvest their spoils, they love to help prepare them and eat them. Picky eaters will often eat things they have grown that they wonít eat when it is purchased from the supermarket. Here are some simple projects to teach you kids a love of gardening.
Potatoes are easy to grow. Simply leave a potato to sprout and then cut it in sections, leaving a sprout on each. Stick toothpicks into it to help support it on a glass jar. Fill the jar with cold water and place the cut side of the potato down. Sit the jar in a window where it will get a lot of sun. Before you know it, potato vines will sprout and grow. Be sure the cut edge of the potato is always in the water. If not, it will dry up and die. Soon, you and the kids will be harvesting little potatoes to add to your dinner plate.
- Container Potatoes
This method is much the same as above, except the project requires a large container and soil.
Cut a sprouted potato into pieces, being sure there is a sprout in each section. Fill a large container with Black Earth or topsoil. (A metal bucket or a terra cotta flower pot works great for this project.)
Plant the potato sections in the soil approximately 6 inches below the surface. Cover the potato sections with soil. Water when needed, but donít let the soil become too wet or the potato sections will rot.
Approximately fifteen days after planting, small sprouts will appear and then leaf out. If you wish to have larger potatoes, allow them to continue to grow until the entire plant dies. Smaller potatoes can be harvested when the leaves on the plant begin to turn brown.
- Grow a Citrus Tree
Citrus trees are easy to grow indoors. Just save the seeds from an avocado, grapefruit, orange or lemon and place them in a four inch pot thatís been filled with potting soil. The seeds should be planted one inch deep.
Water frequently and place the plant in a window where it will get lots of sun. After about a month, a citrus tree will sprout out of the soil. Kids can water their tree and watch it grow.
You can use the same method for growing carrots in water as for growing a potato in water.
Cut the top one inch off of a carrot. Place the cut top in a small container. (A clean margarine container works great.) Put enough cold water in the container to cover the cut base of the carrot. Be sure the top of the carrot is above the water line. Monitor the water level daily to ensure the cut base is always covered with water. If not, the carrot will dry out and die.
After approximately seven days, the kids will notice new growth coming out of the top of the carrot. They will delight in watching this miniature garden grow.
- Eggshell Face with Hair
This is a project that moves along fairly quickly and kids will be delighted with the results.
Cut the top off an uncooked egg with a kitchen knife. Allow all of the white and yolk to drain. Then, carefully wash the eggshell and allow it to dry completely; preferable overnight.
When the eggshell is dry, fill it with a bit of potting soil and gently press it down. Careful; too much pressure will cause the eggshell to break.
Once that is done, sprinkle a layer of fine seed on the top of the soil. Grass seeds, lettuce seed, alfalfa or clover works great. The different types of seed will give a different effect.
Once the seed has been sowed, place the eggshell carefully into an empty egg carton. Let the kids mist their eggshell faces daily with a spray bottle. (They love this part of the project.)
After seven days, kids should see short, green sprouts shooting out of the soil. This is the hair part of the project. Now they can use a marker of their choice to give their eggshell a face. Star or heart-shaped stickers can be added for earrings, if desired.
Teach your kids the love of gardening with these fun projects. Once theyíve had success with these, they can go on to larger projects.