Now more than ever, we’re trying to find new ways to keep kids busy, engaged and learning while at home. It’s a tough time for parents everywhere, so if you’re looking for an activity to get the kids involved in the veggie patch, now’s the perfect time to encourage their curiosity.
Gardening with kids can teach responsibility, help develop their fine motor skills, encourages healthy eating and engages all their senses. Or, it can just get them away from screens and outside… if only for a few minutes.
Here is one of our favourite veggie patch activities that’s an eye-opener for kids on the biological make-up of our plants. It will show how plants can find ways to survive – even when the odds are stacked against them – and give some insight into how all plants need to be treated to not only survive, but to flourish.
This technique will also work for other root vegetables such as parsnips and turnips, so feel free to use whatever veggies you have at your disposal.
Step 1: First up, save the heads of carrots that have already been eaten. More often than not, these will end up in the compost bin at best, but they can be resurrected and replanted into the patch.
Step 2: Find a lipped saucer and fill the base with water.
Step 3: Trim the carrot heads to roughly 1cm off the carrot root, then place the carrot tops in the water. The old sprouts should be above the water line.
Step 4: Place the saucer and carrots in a warm sunny place like on a windowsill. Remember, the carrots will be drinking the water to help promote growth, so keep topping up the water as it is drunk.
Step 5: The carrots will begin to re-sprout in a matter of days. Once they are 2-3 weeks old, they can be transplanted to the veggie patch to begin their second lives.
Resprouting Spring Onions
This will also work with leeks, if that is what you have.
Step 1: If you’re harvesting your own spring onions and would like more, remember to cut down the stem rather than pulling them out – they’ll regrow in the ground. However, if you have spring onions from the market, then this is for you. Keep the bottom of your spring onions, approximately 1 cm from the roots.
Step 2: Fill up some 100mm pots with organic potting mix. If you don’t have any pots, trying using toilet paper rolls (you can see our video on how to create toilet paper roll planters here).
Step 3: Now plant one spring onion in each pot, as though you were planting a stump seedling. Ensure that any root is sitting underground, and the stem is sitting above ground, able to breath.
Step 4: Keep the spring onion well hydrated and in a matter of days, the roots will retake. Soon after that, you will notice a new shoot protruding from the stump!
This technique is useful for vegetables that need to be pulled out of the ground to be harvested – it can give them a second lease of life, while providing an excellent opportunity to teach the kids about growing food. And hopefully, even the fussy eaters will be more willing to taste the veggies they’ve been instrumental in growing!