Teaching a love of gardening and producing one's own food is a lifelong process. Parents can take advantage of many different opportunities to show children the practice of growing food. Fun plant projects can excite kids and make them want to learn more about gardening. When kids want to discover more about plants and gardening, they'll be happy to help with planting for the whole family.
Sweet Potato Vine
Fill a canning jar or clean mayonnaise jar half full with water. Push toothpicks or skewers into the middle of a sweet potato so they stick out on all four sides. Suspend the sweet potato over the jar opening, making sure that the lower end of the potato is in the water. Add more water to raise the level to the correct height, if needed. Keep the jar in a sunny window, and a long vine will grow from the sweet potato.
Fill a medium plant pot with potting soil. Rinse off an avocado pit to remove all vegetable matter. Score the rounded end of the pit in an X design with a knife. Plant the pit with the X down, leaving the top inch or so of the pit above the soil. Water it and keep it in a sunny spot. Once this plant sprouts, it will grow very quickly.
Carrot Dish Garden
Cut the tops off of some carrots. Fill a flat dish, like a soup plate, with about half an inch of water. Set the carrot tops in the water with the cut sides down. Set the dish in a sunny spot. Keep the water level even. The carrot tops will sprout leafy, wispy fronds very easily, making this an easy project for even very young children.
Fill a medium plant pot with potting soil and sprinkle on radish seeds. Have your child gently smooth the soil in the pot, covering up the seeds. Water it and put it in a sunny location. Radishes are among the fastest vegetables to sprout and harvest, so this project is good for impatient children.
Crack your morning eggs very carefully, trying to take off just a small amount of the top of the shell and leaving the rest intact. Allow children to use markers or crayons to draw faces on the eggshells. Set the shells in an egg carton and fill them with potting soil. Sprinkle a small amount of grass seed onto the soil, water it and set it in a sunny window. In just a few days, your eggheads will have fluffy green grass hair.