We live in the world where pretty much everything is available or only one click away. This is the era of online shopping and supermarkets filled with all the food you could ever wish for. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that so many are used to buying all they need and have forgotten about the patience and the gratification that growing something involves. If you’re hoping to teach your children about patience as well as about growing food, we give you a few tips that will help you put your food scraps to good use.
In order to get new potatoes form scraps, you first need to cut them into two pieces. When you do that, make sure that each of the halves has at least one (or two) eyes. The pieces should be left to sit at the room temperature for a couple of days. If they’re dry when you touch them it means they’re ready to be planted. Pick a nice day and take them outside so you can plant them, and keep in mind that they should be a foot apart from each other and about 8 inches deep in the soil. Give your child a part of the garden they will be able to call their own and help them plant the potatoes. The best thing about them is that they can easily be harvested for several months even after the plant itself is dead.
Growing your own garlic is easy, but you should know that it might not be able to grow garlic bulbs. Still, you could grow garlic greens or sprouts from a clove. Take a budding clove and place it in a small cup or a small jar (you can use a whole bulb if you want). Pour a little bit of water inside until you cover the bottom of the cup/jar and touch the bottom of the cloves. Covering them with water completely isn’t wise because they will likely rot. Place the container with a clove in a sunny place, change the water every other day, and after a few days, you will notice there are new roots on the clove. Sprouts could grow to be even 10 inches long, but greens should be snipped when they’re about 3 inches tall. Have your kids snip off the greens and use them in salads and dips.
A lot of people choose to throw away or compost the messy insides of tomatoes, but you can try saving the seeds and using them to grow new tomatoes. Take the tomato insides, rinse them well, and leave them to dry completely. After that, have your child fill a pot with rich potting soil and put in a place with plenty of sun. Watch the pot closely to see the sprouts growing, and when they are a few inches tall, plant them in a sunny part of the garden. Give some gardening tools to your child, small garden fork or a trowel, show them how to use retractable hose reel and instruct them to water the tomatoes a few times a week.
Lettuce and cabbage
Lettuce and cabbage are super-healthy and delicious, and what is more, they are pretty easy to grow from scraps. Don’t throw those leftover leaves you didn’t use in your salad but place them in a bowl, and add just a little bit of water to cover the bottom. The bowl should be kept in a sunny place, and you can instruct your child to mist the leaves with water two times a week, a task they will find very fun and enjoyable. When you notice that small roots and new leaves are appearing, it’s time to transplant your lettuce or cabbage in the soil.
The avocado pit should be clean, rinsed with cold water, and dried with a towel. Put 3 toothpicks in and balance the pit over a water-filled jar or a glass (only about an inch of the pit should be in water). The glass should be kept out of direct sunlight and your child should replenish water as needed. In about a month you should be able to see the roots and stem and in about three months you can plant it in a pot. Still, it’s highly unlikely that every pit will produce roots, and if you’d like to be sure you’ll get your tree, try planting two or three pits at once.
Devoting yourself to this project isn’t going to be easy, but it’s going to be rewarding. Your kids will learn about patience and they will be able to see how things grow when you take care of them. What is more, once they try the food they managed to grow on their own, they will appreciate more the effort you put into getting and preparing the ingredients for their meals. And another thing – it will also be a great chance to bond and spend quality time together.