Activity 1: Don’t throw it, grow it!

How can you have more fresh vegetables and reduce the amount of waste?

There are many fruits and vegetables that you can plant in your own house or garden without having to buy seeds, but by using food scraps or some parts of the product instead. They include pineapple, garlic, ginger, celery, onions, pepper, mushrooms, cilantro, and basil, among many others. Some of these are easier to grow than others:

Materials:
– Food scraps
– Soil
– Pots

Garlic

Step 1: You can grow it by planting a clove in the dirt. Keep in mind, that each clove will yield a plant. Pick up fresh garlic from the store, or even better, from the farmer’s market. Separate the cloves from the head, being really careful not to damage the base, because that’s where the roots grow from.

Step 2: In a big pot, push the clove into the dirt about 2 inches, making sure that the tip is pointing up. Water it once a week if it hasn’t rained, and as it grows, water is less and less. It generally takes about nine months to grow if you plant it in a pot.

Celery

Step 1: While cutting the celery to use for cooking, keep the base instead of tossing it. Put it in a bowl of water by the window, with the cut stalks facing up.About five or six days in, you will start seeing changes in the color (the outside will get drier and the inner part will grow greener).

Step 2: After a week, it is time to transplant your new celery plant. Put it in a pot and bury it the soil entirely, only leaving the new small leaves uncovered. Water it generously and keep it by the window.

Step 3: After a few weeks you’ll see the celery stalk turn into a beautiful plant to have in your house, and after a few months (around 4) you will be able to harvest it and use it in your kitchen!

Basil

Step 1: Take a 3 – 4 inch stem of basil that has young leaves. Remove the leaves from the lower part of the stem, and place in a bowl of fresh water by the windowsill. It is important that the base of the tem is in the water at all times, but that the leaves are kept outside of the water.

Step 2: Between 1 and 2 weeks, you should see small roots starting to grow from the base of the stem. Put them in a 3 or 4 inch pot filled with soil. Basil plants need a lot of sun, so make sure your plant is by the window so it can grow healthy.

Useful Links:

25 foods you can grow from food scraps

Activity 2: You can eat it, you can seed it!

Can you plant the seeds from the fruits and vegetables you buy at the supermarket?

Materials:
– Fresh tomatoes
– Glass jar

* If the fruits or vegetables are organic, the seeds you get from them are more likely to sprout.

Step 1:  Let the tomatoes ripe completely, to the point when they start getting wrinkly but are still edible. Before you cook or eat them, scoop out the seeds. They will be covered in gel or feel slimy.

Step 2: Put the seeds in a jar with water. Stir the mixture twice a day for around five days. You’ll see that the gel surrounding the seed falls off to the bottom of the jar.

Step 3: Once all the seeds have shredd that slimy skin, take them out of the water and put them on a paper towel to dry. Leave them in a fresh and sunny place and wait until they are completely dry, this way they won’t get moldy when planted. Now you have new tomato seeds that you can use to plant your own tomato plants!

For younger kids: Whenever you cook or eat peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, corn, cucumber, watermelon, and other fruits and vegetables where you can clearly see the seeds, have your kid pick them and leave them to dry on a paper towel, so that she or he can compare the different types of seeds that are in the foods she or he eats.

For older kids: Try out saving seeds from other types of vegetables, like peppers, beans, lettuce, peas, which are the easiest ones. Once you have mastered it and are up for a new challenge, try doing it with corn, cucumber or squash, which are slightly harder.

Useful links:

Easier Vegetable seeds

Experiences Vegetable seeds

Activity 3: Make your own self-watering pots!

How can you recycle and give home to a new plant?

Materials:
– A 2 liter plastic bottle
– Sharp knife, blade, or scissors
– Soil
– Seeds
– Thick string or yarn, 1 – 1.5ft long
– Screwdriver and hammer

Step 1: With the help of an adult, cut the bottle in half. Then, using the screwdriver, make a hole in the center of the cap.

Step 2: Take the yarn, bend it in half, pass it through the hole in the cap, and tie a loop on one end so that the knot is in the inside of the cap. Put the cap back on the bottle.

Step 3: Pour one or two inches of water in the lower half of the bottle, and put the top part of the bottle inside the other half, with the cap facing down. The yarn will help the soil stay moist because the plant will take the water it needs from the bottom container through the yarn.

Step 4: Fill the upper part with soil, and get ready to plant! You can look at Activities 1 and 2 for ideas on how and what you can plant in your new pot. For older kids: decorate your pot by making a pattern when you cut the bottle in half. For example, instead of a straight line, cut it in zigzag and with spikes of different sizes.

Helpful links:

Look what the pots look like when they’re finished!

Decorate your pot and give it some personality with these ideas!  

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