Well, if you always wanted your own little plot of veggies, now is the time! Designate a small plot in your yard or a large pot on your porch. Be sure you have plenty of soil, sun, and a steady water supply. You can pick up a garden hose and a gardening can for your little one, as well as small gardening tools. Selecting seeds online is always fun as well as grabbing them from a local shop. Research various ways you and your kiddos can grow some goodness!
If you didn’t sow seeds with your little ones in the spring, have no fear. There are plenty of plants that we can prepare to pick and snack on, even now in August! We can grow plants virtually all year round, and if you wanted, you could have a garden indoors. Perhaps you would like an indoor planter or box of herbs. Or you can venture outside to the wilderness! Well… I mean the backyard.
Plants in the brassica family are some that can go right into the ground in August. These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and more. You can even toss zucchini, various lettuces, peas, and green onions in there! Of course, this all depends upon your location; check out the map on Urban Farmer online (www.usfeeds.com) to be sure. Vegetation depends upon your location in the U.S. (and in the world).
Children may enjoy the task of identifying where they live on the map and finding the zone best for growth. Children may notice this relates to where the sun is strongest during growing seasons. There is an entire science unit in that one concept! Teachable moments are abounding when researching this topic.
Nevertheless, it is important to sprout your seeds first. This is such a fun task for parents and children! Sprouting the seeds will give your plants a fighting chance. The process of sprouting the seeds makes for a great lesson as welcoming the cute little sprouts into the garden will allow strong plants to grow.
- Soak seeds overnight in a small glass jar.
- Drain and rinse the seeds the next morning. Provide a small amount of fresh water in the jar once again.
- Over the next few days, drain and rinse the seeds and watch for green sprouts!
You can always tune into YouTube and watch “How to Sprout Anything” which is a video made by Tasty. There is a wealth of useful information there too in regard to harvesting. When we consider a plan for gardening, we may want to make a timeline with our children. This timeline can include when the sprouts start, when they are planted, how long until the plants blossom, and when they can be harvested. A simple table may be suitable. Children can also record the weather during their crop-growing time, and they can note the weather using symbols and pictures. They may also watch the weather reports each day and make predictions as to whether the weather is helping the plants grow.
This is true for growing wildflowers as well or perhaps clusters of herbs. There are plenty of delicious ones you can start in your kitchen or in your porch. Consider yummy staples for salads and meals such as dill, basil, and oregano. Think about the ones you enjoy most in your meals, and go from there!
What about some wild lavender or perhaps some refreshing chamomile? There are plenty of plants that provide calm and medicinal effects; they are incredibly easy to cultivate. Planting herbs gives another dimension to teaching about herbs and the health benefits associated with each. Children can make charts, lists, and perhaps even research each one to illustrate the wonders of nature and the healing it provides.
Don’t have a green thumb you say? It’s okay! We can still grow plants that will thrive with minimal care. Think about root veggies that make their magic beneath the surface like carrots and potatoes. Or how about the herb that makes our summer tea so welcoming: mint! It’s quite easy to grow, but it’s tubular roots can be a bit invasive. Beware! It will grow to no end! It does smell delicious though. If it gets out of control, at least it will smell nice when the lawnmower crosses over the bits that creep out of the garden. It’s so abundant you can always send guests home with a bag full as a parting gift or have the children bundle some for the neighbors and the community to enjoy.
Nevertheless, you and the children will enjoy countless hours cultivating plants and making memories. Many teachable moments happen in the kitchen, in the yard, on the porch, and in the garden. Take time to plan a bit, and you will not go wrong.
Dr. Jeanette Moore is a certified educator in New York, Vermont, Connecticut and South Carolina. She is an established author and frequently contributes to magazines and lesson compilations, including The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, Spider Magazine, Highlights for Children, and the lesson guide for the National Fragile X Association. Jeanette has published math games for Nasco, including the P.E.M.D.A.S. Color Code. She also writes math and science books for Nomad Press, as well as workbooks for Carson Dellosa Publishing. Jeanette is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She is the mother of little Maya Jillian.