Sunday, September 11, 2011

Plants + food

J's first radish

There is nothing better than getting your kids to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. It's a hard thing to do, don't get me wrong.

Luckily, we have a small space in our apartment complex to garden. Unfortunately, my husband and I have beige/pinkish, not green, thumbs. We put most of our gardening space to tomatoes and green beans, but it never got hot this year (no complaints other than the lack of tomatoes and green beans). Something was also wrong with our soil in the planter box, so our zucchini and cucumbers failed early too.

However, we do have this wild blackberry bush that we've been able to keep alive. Actually, it's J's "job" to water the bush whenever we water the garden. He might have the greenest thumb of us all!  He's learning plants need water and light in order to grow.  Some plants also grow yummy food for us to eat!

Though we've picked (and eaten) handful of berries each week, it's not enough to make anything. One Saturday a few weeks back, we decided to go berry picking.

J knows the purple ones are ripe and yummy

Well, maybe more berry eating...

And after mixing a few basic ingredients (chemistry) and some heat (heat transfer), we ended up with:

Children can understand that some food comes from plants.  They need sunlight and water and the right conditions to taste the way they do.  People pick our fruits and veggies for us to eat.  Start up these conversations with your children.

It's also very important to stress from an early age the importance of eating fresh and local.  I'm all for "saving the planet," but honestly, the main reason I like to eat local is that the produce tastes so much fresher. Overall, fruits and veggies are good for you, giving your body the energy, vitamins, and nutrients you need to be you!

We were able to benefit from a friend's vacation and get her CSA (community supported agriculture) box for the week.  We got carrots the size of J's head, celery, and orange cauliflower.

Some activities for kids:

Dissect different fruits and veggies.
-What color is the piece of fruit/veggie?
-Where are the seeds?
-What do the seeds do?
-Does the fruit/veggie have an outer layer/skin/rind?
-What's the purpose of the skin/rind?

Plant something and watch it grow.
-Make it your new "pet".
-Give your kid watering duties.
-Comment on its growth and development frequently.

Taste your product
-What do you taste?
-What does it smell like?
-Do you like it?
-Is it ripe or did you pick it too early?

What kind of bugs can you find in your garden?
-What are their purposes?
-Do you think they help/hurt the plant/soil?  (there might be both kinds around)

Please support some September projects that helped me out last month

Presents for low income Medford Kids:, text 108304 to 73774

NC Elementary Schools:, text 108674 to 73774, text 108654 to 73774

There's also a neat project for building a science museum for kids in Baton Rouge:, text 108949 to 73774

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