Whilst many of us adults have acquired a green thumb throughout our lives - and especially during lockdown - it is fair to say that children don't always get as excited to spend some time pottering outdoors. A lot of gardening is not much fun for children, particularly around this time of year when everything is all wet, they get cold fingers and there are endless weeds that are hard to pull! But while gardening right now might not be very appealing, plants are always exciting for children of all ages. Here are some projects using materials that are easy to find and which can all be done indoors in case of rain, or if you don't have an outdoor space. Gardening is for everyone!
Re-grow your food from kitchen scraps
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Did you know many different vegetable tops will re-sprout with just a little water?! Carrots, beetroots, turnips, spring onions and leeks are all perfect for this, amongst many other tasty vegetables. This is a great, easy project for kids of all ages and the most exciting part is they will eventually get to eat something they have grown themselves! You need around 3 - 5 cm of the top of the root (the bit that is usually cut off before cooking), simply sit these, tops pointing up, in a little water in a saucer on a bright windowsill, and after a few days you’ll see new growth appear. For celery, onions, spring onions, leeks and lettuce, you need the base of the vegetable. Cut off 5-8cm and soak in a little water in a saucer. These vegetables will take around a week to produce new growth. For more in-depth information, we recommend having a look at the Food Revolution website.
Grow a new succulent from a cutting
Due to the booming houseplant trend, most of us probably have a succulent hanging around the house somewhere. Succulents are fascinating, resilient plants known for being very good at 'vegetative reproduction'. This means that if a leaf falls off the plant it can quickly develop into a new plant with roots - amazing, right? To propagate your succulent, gently pull at one of the bottom leaves that looks healthy until it comes away from the main plant. Once you have collected a few, fill a small tray (with holes in the bottom) with equal parts compost and grit or sand, which will prevent the soil from getting too damp and rotting your plants. Make sure you water the soil thoroughly before gently placing your succulent leaves on the surface. Make sure that the leaves aren't buried, but they do need to make contact with the soil. Don’t water the tray again until you see new roots start to form. Keep somewhere bright, but out of direct sunlight. After a few months you will have lots of new baby succulents that can be potted up.
Turn a sweet potato into a houseplant
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Did you know that sweet potatoes can be sprouted? The sweet potato grows as a beautiful, long vine with heart shaped leaves and makes an excellent houseplant. To grow your own sweet potato houseplant, you’ll need a sweet potato, a big jam jar filled with warm water, some toothpicks and a warm, bright spot. Stick three toothpicks into the potato about halfway down and rest these on the rim of the jam jar. Make sure the half of the potato with the more pointed end is sitting inside the jar in an inch or so of water. Place on a warm windowsill and top up with water when it dries out. It will only take about two weeks for leaves and roots to appear. When the roots reach the bottom of the jar, and there are a few leaves, plant the potato in a decently sized pot. Make sure none of the sprouting leaves are buried! Do not leave your sweet potato plant in direct sunlight as this will scorch the leaves. Now you have a beautiful new houseplant!
Will you be trying out and of these gardening projects? Let us know in the comments!