In this episode of Plant Talk, Fred Hower talks through some simple gardening activities that will both entertain and educate your kids!
Publish Date: Feb 16, 2021
now, Fred, I know that lots of people are dealing with their kids being home right now with the school being suspended. So, uh, I know you have some ideas for getting kids involved in gardening. Well, I do Mark, and it's it's twofold. Well, and can go we even be way beyond that. But I got to thinking, and I saw some pictures in the paper about Children being masked and on and on and on, all of which then can cause parents and Children No end of concern. I got to thinking that there can be some help from the gardening and first buy books that, depending on the child's age but reading of books that are referenced gardening and then the other is back to migrate. Well, my grandmother teaching me to grow plants in little, well, solo cups, whatever they were called then, uh, first to do is, I don't know, an inch and a half deep an inch and a half wide is probably plenty big enough. The cups should have a solid wall, and in that they were meant to hold water. You have to start by using a pencil or some such punch a hole in the very bottom of the cup because your grandmother is going to teach you to water that little plant and she's serious. But if it can't drain, it'll drown. And that's not happy for the child or grandma. So let's just say that any any nature of cup that can be drained or there actually are little tiny clay pot and plastic pots made for decorative services and so on. So you start there and then one of the things I like Thio let's just say proposed is the bigger the seed. You handled the hand to the child to plant the MAWR. They're gonna understand what they are doing. They could see it, feel it in their fingers and so on. And then when it grows and has a fruit such as a pumpkin, pumpkin seeds are a great one to get started. Um, get, get, get that big seed in their hands, beans, peas, things like that. Uh, it's a little tedious and, you know, I would recommend you don't promise them a crop, but at the same time, you can see the all on their face when the little bean or whatever starts to break through the soil and send the little top up. Now that's the next step, O R. Let's just say an intermediate step. One of the first things is to punch a hole in the pot, then use Onley good potting soil in potting soil, there is probably no such thing as actual soil. It's some of the components of soil, but it is not heavy clay oriented so that it won't drown the little plant. So, uh, then you go to the matter of it, popping up through the soil as soon as there is green showing from the kind of a goose neck arrival of the seed itself, you're gonna see, uh, need to get it in the highlight. Now, the highlight can be in East Window west window south, for that matter. Uh, and and then even to the point of adding some electric to it, um, if you want to really set the kids up, get a 4 ft shop light, hang it from the floor, Joyce in the basement and be able to move that lamp well or shop light right down to within two or three inches of the seats as they germinate. Then you can in this chain, and with the proper hook up, you can kind of move it up the chain as the plants get taller. Then the next step is Grandma will teach the child toe water, and that's good. But try toe water in that case, where you can water the soil only try not to just stick it under the sink and pour water on the top. Uh, there when you keep the soil too moist, not even soppy wet but just too moist. Then there can be several things happening. There are all kinds of pathogens for plants, and some of those will cause what's called damping off eso you want toe water the soil. Make sure it's really wet, draining out sufficiently. But then try not the water again until the soil has crusted dry are not not crusted necessarily. But just just drive down to where your finger doesn't feel any moisture. But in a given number days, of course, you have tow water again. When you do try to put the water on out of a bottle or whatever right on the soil itself, even to set up the sink and let it bubble until the the air is gone out of the soil. That's a good way to know it's wet. Then you may not have the water again for two, possibly three days, so that you could bring the child into the nurturing of seeds, plants and so on. Uh, I say I mentioned I like the big things and one of the big things that I like because my squirrels were going nuts right now fattening up on my corn e. Call it my corn there. They're gonna leave some planted in the ground, and then I will have to come through and treat those little grass plants like weeds later on. That's okay if you're doing it with the child and and they can see that that plants start to grow wonderful. Next thought is there will be cattle Eden's. That's the part that holds the food to nurture the embryo. And that's the part that is not a true leaf. It is that food storage unit. Then, immediately above it will be the true leaves start to develop, and when they are into the true leaf size and nature, then you keep up the light. You keep up the moisture and so on. Uh, try to keep the damping off from happening and then treat them as plants that will be by mid May, ready to go out in the garden and have ah, healthy multi week start ahead of the things that they can also plant in the ground at that time and watch the second round, so to speak. Well, you know, I don't think there's any of us who, uh, don't remember taking our milk cartons at school and starting seeds in them and then assumes they got big enough. We'd take him home to our moms for Mother's Day. That was always our big ritual. And, uh, it's a thrill when you're a kid to do that. Well, it is. It's also a teaching element. Uh, you don't have to profess that, so to speak at at that moment in time, but it gets them initiated to nature and how things actually happen then, especially if you can bring it on through cropping where you get up when you get a corn plant that the deer don't eat or you get peas that are growing up a net on the wall on, they can actually stand there and eat the sun warmed peas right out of the pod. Then you're really getting that child interested in knowledge and knowledgeable about nature. Then if they become horticulturist later, find if they don't that's okay, too. But it still is a really wonderful learning thing. And and, of course, if when Mother's Day it could make Mom happy to. I know you have some suggestions, especially for those folks that are trying to maybe home school their kids a little bit right now of some books for kids. I do, Mark, I have a list in my hand and I'm gonna pick from it, and I'm just going to give the titles. I do not have authors at this point, but the one that I list first is called The Kids Nature Book. The second one is stated to be learned and play in the garden. Mhm third one, The amazing world of plants. That's the the educational end of things on, then, with one called the Secret Garden Activity Book, which will instruct on how to do these things. I think indoors and out for that matter, and then the last one that I have on my specific list is down to Earth. Uh huh. Nice on. I imagine a lot of these air available online through the library's. Yes. Yeah.