Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2015 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Winter Gardening Projects for kids--of all ages!

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Winter Gardening Projects for kids--of all ages!

            In the middle of the winter, when it’s cold and gray outside, I spend long delicious minutes pawing through seed displays and dreaming of spring.  I know kids get tired of those cold gray days as well.  So here are some indoor projects you can do with (or without) your kids.           
            1.  Carrots—Cut the tops off carrots (not baby cut carrots) leaving about a ½ inch stump.  Place the stump in a saucer of water, near a bright window and in only a week or two you will grow a little forest of carrot tops.
            2.  And just in case you’ve never sprouted a sweet potato—place a sweet potato, root end down in a glass of water, covering the bottom half of the tuber.  Place in a sunny window and, in a few weeks, a beautiful green vine will appear.  Even though it will last only a few months, in that time, it can grow long enough to vine around the window.  If you do this in the spring, you can detach the little shoots when they’re abou six inches tall and plant them outside—and grow real sweet potatoes.  Allow plenty of room and harvest when the prolific vines begin to die down.
            3.  Citrus—Remove several seeds from a citrus fruit and plant in a seed starting soil mix with about a half inch of soil covering.  Keep moist and place in a sunny window.  It will take several weeks before little seedlings appear.  This will make a very attractive tree in a sunny window.
            4.  Celery—Fill jars or glasses with water and add three or four drops of food coloring.  Place a celery stalk (or white carnation) in each jar.  After a few days, the colored water will tint the celery stalk or carnation. 
            5.  Avocados—Save an avocado seed and place toothpicks around the middle to make little ‘spokes.’  Set the seed in a glass of water, letting the ‘spokes’ sit on the rim of the glass.  Make sure water always touches the bottom of the seed.  It can take a month or longer for the seed to sprout.  Once it has sprouted and produced both roots and leaves, you can then transplant to a small pot – leaving the top of the seed exposed to the light.
            6.  Paperwhite bulbs—Paperwhite bulbs can be forced into bloom indoors in as little as three to four weeks.  You’ll need a watertight container about three inches deep and six inches across, three paperwhite narcissus bulbs (available from September through January), and small pebbles.  Plant the bulbs in the container, using the pebbles to fill in around.  Leave the “nose” or tip of the bulb exposed.  Fill container with water and sit in a bright window.  New leaves will begin growing within a few days. After a couple of weeks, small flower shoots should appear.  At the end of three to four weeks, you should have a bouquet of scented white flowers.
            7.  Pineapple—cut the top off a ripe pineapple.  Peel off the bottom layers of leaves until you have a 1” stem. Place in a cup of water just to cover the stem.  Change water weekly.  Keep in a moderately bright window. When roots appear, pot into a clay pot.  After about three years, get in touch with us to find out how to get your pineapple plant to make another pineapple.
            8.  Start seeds indoors.  Seeds for herbs, for example, will grow in a sunny window and you get to enjoy the fragrance almost right away.  Basil, mint, and oregano sprouts fairly quickly and grow well.
            9.  Have your kids help you plan a hummingbird and butterfly garden.  They can research which plants will attract hummingbirds and butterflies and help make plant markers.
           10.  Give your kids clay pots and some colored markers.  Have them draw faces on the pots.  Plant grass seed (cat grass or wheat grass works well for this) for “hair.”
           11.  While feeding the birds isn’t a growing projects, birds are certainly important to any garden, so attracting them to your yard is beneficial.  Kids can make or hang out bird feeders and begin a catalog of what varieties of birds they see. 

         Whichever project your children try, they will enjoy the sense of accomplishment--and so will you!
Posted: 1/5/2015 by Bonnie Pega | with 1 comment(s)
2 grandchildren are coming this weekend. Think I'll do the food coloring with white carnations. Thanks for the reminder.
1/13/2015 9:30:45 AM

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