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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Planting Food

For years I have wanted to plant a vegetable garden. I have romantic notions about seedlings, planting, growing, and picking my own salad. Back in Massachusetts I tried a couple of times to grow herbs and lettuce but it was a disaster, to say the least. It seems so easy in my mind, but once I get to the garden center I am overwhelmed and leave with my hands empty.
This year, I have resolved to try again. First of all, I live in a region of California where food actually comes from and farmer’s markets abound. My friend and neighbor Jennifer grew beautiful tomatoes in pots last summer. She was generous with her bounty but I was envious. (Full disclosure: Jennifer can make anything grow and her garden is stunning.) Seriously, I surely should be able to manage container gardening, right?
Another reason is for the boys. Not only is gardening a fun activity to do as a family, but the nutritional rewards are huge. Henry doesn’t like tomatoes in their true form (he is a huge fan of ketchup) but maybe he will change his mind if he grows and picks his own tomatoes. Over the past few months I have been intrigued by the clean eating movement. Basically, the idea is to only eat foods that you make yourself from real food. No packages, no processing. I love the idea but I am scared by the commitment. It would be better for the boys but more work for me. Just writing that sentence makes me feel like a slacker…but a food garden should get me going in the right direction!
So, this weekend I dove into the world of container tomato gardening. And it was easy! Leo and I went over to the local garden center. He picked out three kinds of organic tomatoes: cherry, big boy golden, and purple heirloom. Leo loves tomatoes and he is totally on board. In fact, I believe Leo is on his way to becoming a vegetarian so I am truly giving him a valuable life skill. We made our purchases, bought pots and drove home.
The next day, Leo, Henry, and I began our project. (Dad was out at an e-cycling event getting rid of an old TV.) Just like on Sid the Science Kid we talked about what plants need to grow. We designated a sunny spot in the side yard, near a water hose. Then we got dirty. We dumped a whole bag of dirt into the pot. Leo and I dug a hole and put the first plant in. Leo got the coveted job of watering the first plant.
Then, we were stumped. No more dirt! Thank goodness for good neighbors. Jennifer came to our rescue with dirt and tomato cages. (Who knew?!) After a detour across the street Henry watered the second plant.
Our cherry tomatoes came prepotted with a cage and there are even some tomatoes ripening on the vine. I am hoping that this plant yields first and gets the excitement building as we wait for the other two plants. We also have two strawberry buckets (gifted from Jennifer) and a little lemon tree. Jennifer had a great idea about planting a salsa garden with peppers and cilantro or a pasta sauce garden with herbs to compliment the tomatoes. I think the boys would love that. Maybe I can plant my salad garden after all.
I like it when Sid activities connect with all kinds of science concepts from the show. This planting activity is from the Environment and Habitat cycle but I easily made connections to the Health cycle with nutrition. I even reminded the boys about germs and hand washing from the activity about dirt and germs. We have enjoyed so many investigations from our time with Sid and it feels great to connect to the boys’ prior knowledge as we conduct new investigations.
I will keep you updated on our little garden. How does your garden grow? Do you have any gardening advice for me? Believe me, I would love to hear it!

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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