Family Gardening

Gardening with your kids is a chance to make fun memories while being active and creating healthy food and beautiful spaces as a family. No matter how big or small, gardening is an exciting way for kids to learn about how plants - and food - grow.

 Here are a few ways to make family gardening simple and fun! Let everyone be a master in the garden. Everyone in the family can join in at each step of the gardening process. Kids can plan the garden and parents can follow their lead. Don’t start off too big, start with a small garden so it isn’t overwhelming. Encourage your kids to play in the dirt, learn how things grow, and help out with planting and weeding. If she’d rather play in the dirt or look at bugs than pull weeds, it’s OK! She’s still learning. You can even make a game out of weeding or other garden chores!


No matter how big or small, gardening is an exciting way for kids to learn about how plants - and food - grow.

Avocado seeds may be started in a glass of water or in a moist, porous soil mixture. Either will work, but the soil method will provide faster results.
If the seed is started in water, insert three or four toothpicks in the seed about half way down the sides. Next, fill a small glass with water to the brim and place the seed in the glass, flat end down, so the toothpicks rest firmly on the brim. The toothpicks should be supporting the seed so that the pointed half is out of the water and the bottom half is in the water. The sprouting tip will come out of the pointed end, so be sure the flat end is immersed in water. Place the glass on a sunny window sill or some other well lighted spot. Add water as needed to keep the bottom half of the seed wet at all times.

 

Start Avocado Seeds
Start avocado seeds

Avocado seeds may be started in a glass of water or in a moist, porous soil mixture. Either will work, but the soil method will provide faster results.

If the seed is started in water, insert three or four toothpicks in the seed about half way down the sides. Next, fill a small glass with water to the brim and place the seed in the glass, flat end down, so the toothpicks rest firmly on the brim. The toothpicks should be supporting the seed so that the pointed half is out of the water and the bottom half is in the water. The sprouting tip will come out of the pointed end, so be sure the flat end is immersed in water. Place the glass on a sunny window sill or some other well lighted spot. Add water as needed to keep the bottom half of the seed wet at all times.

After a few weeks a small root should appear from the flat end, and there should be signs of a small shoot at the pointed end. Tiny leaves will develop and grow on this shoot. Later, when the main stem emerges, plant the seed in a container with house plant potting soil.

If the avocado seed is started in soil, fill a large container with house plant potting soil. Plant the seed so that the pointed end is about an inch above the soil surface. Keep the soil moist at all times until the avocado plant is established.

Water the plant often enough to keep the soil moist but not wet. A wet soil will result in curled leaves and soft stems. A dry soil will cause dry leaves that eventually fall off. Avocado plants should be fertilized every three months with a standard houseplant fertilizer. Also, remember that avocado plants require good, indirect light. Because avocado plants grow into trees, provide them with plenty of growing space.

 

Do Plants Use Water?

Celery Transpiration

Fill jars with water and add food coloring. Place a celery stalk or white daisy and stem in the jar. As transpiration takes place, water is pulled through the stem. The colored water will color the celery stalk or daisy petals.

Another way to discover that plants use water is to split a white carnation stem into two equal parts with a knife, from bottom up to the flower. Put each stem piece in a separate jar containing different colored water. You'll get a bicolored flower.

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Easy HouseplantsBaby Pineapples

Cut off about one-half inch of a carrot top and plant in a pot filled with moist, well-drained soil mix. The carrot top will develop fern-like leaves.

Cut off top green leaves of a pineapple, with about one inch of the fruit portion attached. Put the cut-fruit end in a shallow pan of water, leaving green top well above water. Roots will develop after several weeks. Transplant to a pot of moist soil and cover with a clear plastic bag for three weeks. Keep your pineapple plant well watered; tiny pineapples may even develop in a year or so.

Plant orange, grapefruit, tangerine or lemon seeds in a pot of moist potting soil as soon as they are removed from the fruit. Keep soil moist but not soggy; plant in a well-lighted room but out of direct sun. Resulting plants may become attractive houseplants although they may be spiny. Place plants in a sunny west or south window. They are unlikely to bear edible fruit.

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Little Grass House

Sponge HouseEasy Fun
"Little Grass House" photos courtesy wonderfuldiy.com

 

Fruit Garland for BirdsFruit Garland

  • Gather up these SuppliesCranberries
  • Oranges cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • Apples cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • Cotton string cut 3 feet long
  • Large sewing needle

Put the cotton string on the large sewing needle and make a knot at the end of the string. Put the cranberries, oranges and apples on the string to make the garland. Alternate the different fruits to make your own design. Attach the garland to tree branches. Be careful not to injure the branches by tying the string too tight. Remove the string from the tree when the fruit is gone, to prevent girdling the branches later.

 

Pizza GardenPizza Garden

Try something different in the garden this year. Everyone will enjoy growing a pizza garden.

This garden is even shaped like a pizza. In your garden area, mark off a circle by putting a stake upright in the ground. Attach a 3 and a half foot piece of string to the stake. Keeping the string tight, walk around in a circle and mark the ground to show the garden's border. Divide the circle into six equal wedges.

In your pizza garden plan to grow three vegetables and three herbs.

  • In one wedge plant 2 or 3 oregano plants. Oregano is a perennial herb that gives pizza the characteristic taste and wonderful smell. It may be used fresh or dried.
  • Parsley is a biennial herb that reseeds itself. Plant 2 or 3 plants in its wedge.
  • There are several kinds of basil varieties, but we recommend sweet basil for your pizza garden.
  • Basil is an annual herb and you can plant 2 to 3 plants in its wedge.
  • Onions can be planted from seeds or sets. Select red, white or yellow for your garden. You can plant up to 30 onion sets in your garden.
  • Plant 1 or 2 pepper plants in your garden. Plant any green, sweet, bell type of pepper. If you like hot, spicy pizza, plan to also grow a hot pepper variety.
  • The final wedge will be planted with one tomato plant. A paste tomato variety, such as Roma, is recommended for your pizza garden. Roma has small, oblong tomatoes with a thick meaty flesh.

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This material is based upon work that was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2011-68001-30020. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.