Growing plants from seeds is an easy , fun and learning activity for kids.
We did a small project of growing seeds in a flower pot (because we are urban dwellers) when my son was 3 years old. He helped fill the pot with soil which was a learning in itself (that you need soil to grow plants), while preparing the pot, he spotted some ants, and we indulged in some conversation about ants, like – where do ants live? what do they eat? ……
The soil of the pot was already loose and quite airy so we had no problem working on the soil.
What we did?
Scratched the surface of soil with our fingers and sprinkled some seeds (whole green moong dal that I had in my kitchen). Then we leveled the surface with our palms and sprinkled some water gently over it, careful enough not to expose the seeds. Kept the tray in a sunny spot in our balcony.
In just one day we saw some sprouts peeking from the soil, and in three days we had a tray full of small saplings which looked fresh and pretty.
I do not know if he imbibed the whole concept of plant growing from seeds, but it was a good activity which introduced something new in his brain.
But we did get a chance to do a lot of organic farming, while on a visit to his grandma’s house, when he turned five.
Here are a few pics of the same:
His grandma’s house has a huge gooseberry tree in the backyard, and the amount of gooseberries it produces year after year without skipping a single year is unbelievable. We drank gooseberry juice all through winter- it tasted best when fermented for a day or too. We made, gooseberry jams, sauce and candy, distributed some raw gooseberries, and even after all that, there were enough left, so we just boiled and dried them in the sun to be used later in summers.
We made our vegetable patch from scratch, right from digging the ground with spade, leveling the slopes for proper drainage, removing the weeds, adding organic manure, waiting ….. and then finally sowing the seeds.
We prepared different beds for different plants and sowed radish seeds on the ridges, as you can see here. We grew, garlic, ogle ( a leafy green vegetable), spinach and tomatoes and onions.
Most satisfying part was making supports for climbers, and other plants which tend to thrive on supports, like tomatoes, eggplants etc. Kids love doing these things, they love pulling weeds, and carrying things like branches to support the climbers.
Kids should be close to nature to feel the love for our planet, showing them how grow our food, is bringing them a step closer to feel the love for our planet that we are destroying so fast.
Last winter my mom wanted to throw away a box full of infested chickpeas, I had a better idea, I prepared a vegetable bed, and asked my son and niece to help me sow them. They were very excited to get their hands dirty, we dug small holes in the already prepared soil, and pushed in chickpeas in them, kids were however not so meticulous but it didn’t matter….. they would put a handful in one hole, or just scattered them all over the bed, then we covered them up as best as we could and …..in three to four days whole bed was covered with tender green saplings which grew into beautiful green plants in just a few days. We would pluck the tender tops of these plants to put into flour for making rotis, paranthas, or we made curry out of them, which tasted divine, because of the slightly sour taste of chickpea leaves.
Working in the winter sun feels so good, November – January especially is a good time to indulge in growing vegetables for stocking up on nutrition for our our body.