Planting your own garden is a great way to learn about where food comes from and how plants grow. Ever wonder what was the first food planted? How did people discover that seeds grew into fruit producing plants that were edible? Following the steps below will guide you through the planting process and caring for your plant.
How does YOUR garden grow?
Activity 1 – Planting Seeds
Planting a garden is a great way to learn about where food comes from and how plants grow. Following the steps below will guide you through the seed planting process and help you care for your plants. First check the growing season by looking at this map. Next, check what edible plants grow in your region. Third, research where you can purchase seeds. When you know what you can plant and when, it is time to find out where you will plant your edible garden! You can grow things to eat inside on a windowsill that gets at least 4-6 hours of full sunshine a day, or outside in a garden area that gets full sun daily. Most people start seeds indoors and then move them outdoors. You will need potting soil and small seed containers. An egg carton or seed starting sheet work well. Follow instructions on the seed packet for depth of planting and spacing. Label what you have planted! Sprinkle with water daily. When seeds are a few inches tall, and it is warm enough, you can move your plants outside or harvest them for dinner! Be sure to take a picture of them!
Activity 2 – Record your garden’s growth
Each week measure your plants with a ruler. Visually record the plants’ growth by creating a bar graph.
When your plants are ready to harvest, follow the links on the final page to find ways to use your locally grown foods in a meal. Sit down and share this meal with a friend, family member, or classmate.
Watch it grow!
Activity 3 – grow an herb garden
Herbs are plants that flavor our food, cure our ailments, and keep us smelling sweet! Herbs were always an important part of a garden. You can grow herbs indoors on a windowsill. Parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, rosemary and basil are the easiest to grow. Find a container that is the recommended size for your plant choice. A great place to start is with herbs like basil or oregano. Most can be grown inside and are fairly low maintenance.
Fill the container with nutrient rich soil. Then use your finger to gently make impressions in the soil for the seeds. Place one seed in each hole and cover with soil. Water and place container in a sunny spot.
Follow the directions on your seed packet to provide your plant with the right amount of water and sunlight. Soon your plants will begin to emerge from the soil.
Spice up your life!
Activity 4 – Uses for Herbs
Pick your favorite herbs. Research their origins in the library or online. Who used this herb first? How is the herb thought to affect our health? Which herb is good for your stomach? Which herbs soothe our nerves? Which herbs have vitamin C? Did you know that parsley has more iron than any other green vegetable? Did you know that dandelions can help clean your liver?!!! Echinacea is thought to help sore throats. Ginger root can help stimulate the circulation system. Lavender relaxes us. Herbs not only help our food and drinks taste better, they also help our health in many ways. Make a chart of at least ten different herbs and their uses.
Pick your favorite herb and grow it!
Activity 5 – Global Food Distribution
Most people living in cities assume food is secured from grocery stores without fully understanding dependency on ten huge corporations who control the global food industry. 46% of London’s carbon footprint is from food transport! In 1989, 52% of Cuba’s food supply was transported from the Soviet Union. When it broke apart, Cuba had to become food resilient. Cities unknowingly are ignorant of food security and need to return to producing local crops to safeguard food supplies. Take a look at OXFAM’s 10 companies that control the world’s food distribution. Make a chart of their annual income. Then look at Growing a Better Future. List five steps individuals can take to start governmental change in the way food is distributed around the world. Add these to your chart.
- Plants that flavor our food are called:
- You can grow herbs inside year-round on a window sill.
- Lavender helps to stimulate our circulation system.
- Parsley has more iron than any other green vegetable.
- Added Value
- EatRealEatLocal Canada
- FOOD Processing Top 100
- Grow an Herb Garden
- Growing Power
- History of Food Timeline
- Homegrown Minneapolis
- LifeLab: Science Garden Exploration
- Medicinal Guide to Herbs
- Milestones in U.S.Food and Drug Law
- OXFAM Growing A Better Future
- Plant a Vegetable Garden
- Planting Science
- Slow Food
- SPIN Turn your lawn into a vegetable garden
- Urban Eating For Urban Eden
- Urban Permaculture
- Vegetable Grow Guides
- Vienna Vegetable Orchestra
- Your Food Environment Atlas