The first story Deb would like to share today is entitled, "Oh, Were They Ever Happy!" It makes US so happy to share this book with you.
Wendy would like to read a special story to you - it's called "A Girl and her Gator". Bart, Wendy's sweet dog, makes a special appearance!
A Letter from Science Teacher Wendy:
Now is a great time to start your gardens indoors! Personally, I find a lot of joy in watching things grow. Gardening doesn’t have to be a stressful undertaking. Really, it is just one big science experiment. The main thing you’ll have to do is make sure it gets plenty of water, and cover it if it is outside during a late spring snow storm. Some things will work, and some things won’t. But the process will be fun either way!
Our gardens at Paddington have thrived the past few years. My home garden in Stapleton doesn’t always have as much success, but I have found things that have worked over the years. (More on that later). You don’t need the amount of space we have at school to be successful at growing vegetables. You really just need a sunny window and a pot or two. If you do not have any soil on hand, check with a neighbor. Maybe they can spare a small amount. You can also find some on Amazon if you would rather not go out to the garden center right now.
Right now, I am especially interested in trying to regrow food from existing kitchen scraps. I have had some successes with this and some failures (honestly, I cannot get the whole avocado plant from pit technique to work for me, but hopefully you can!).
If you have a spare sweet potato, cut it in half. Stick three toothpicks in each half about 1/2 inch from the cut side in a triangle position. Place the cut side into a bowl of water. Keep it in contact with the water (so you’ll need to add water every couple of days - and discuss the idea of “evaporation” with your children!).
After a few weeks, it will sprout leaves and roots. Then you can plant the sprouted half in a large pot or a garden bed. Each plant will need about a one foot radius to grow, so don’t place them too closely. The leaves of a sweet potato plant are quite attractive. Apparently they are also edible, though it is not something I typically eat. Plan to harvest in late summer. Since you cannot watch the potatoes grow (i.e. they do grow under the dirt) it is super fun to dig the plant up and dig down to see how many potatoes have grown!!
If you are like me, there are times when you don’t eat the regular potatoes before they start to sprout. Once they sprout, they do start to produce a toxin in the skin that will cause stomach troubles, so you can’t eat them. But don’t throw them out! Place them in a sunny window to allow the sprouts to grow a little more. Then cut the potatoes into large chunks. These chunks can be planted. When planting, form the dirt into a large mound and place the seed potato in the middle about 2-3 inches down. These plants also need about 1 foot radius. In late summer, when the green leaves (not edible, by the way) start to turn brown, then you know the potatoes are ready to harvest. Have your child predict how many potatoes the plant has produced before you dig them up.
Celery: (This is my first time with this one, so fingers are crossed it works!)
Cut a few inches off the bottom of a whole stalk of celery. Rinse, and place upright in a jar or bowl. Fill halfway with warm water and set in a sunny window. Change water every other day, and mist the top of the plan so it stays somewhat damp. After a week or so, plant the base in soil (covered with soil, but leave the new leaves exposed). Keep soil well watered. New leaves and stalks should grow. Harvest when stalks are large (and keep re-planting the base).
There are quite a few other vegetables and fruits that you can re-grow like onions, garlic, herbs, lettuces,etc. Here is a link with more information.
Hope you all have fun trying to grow from kitchen scraps!
Science teacher Wendy
Thanks for reading - we look forward to seeing you soon!