KIDSGAZETTE

Don't toss your leftovers - grow them!

3. Carefully poke into the avocado pits, celery and lettuce with toothpicks or skewers if needed to help hold it partial
3. Carefully poke into the avocado pits, celery and lettuce with toothpicks or skewers if needed to help hold it partially submerged into the water. Do not poke toward yourself or your hands. Watch it grow! Make an estimate of how tall you think the growth will be after 14 days.
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11:59AM | Mon, January 18, 2021

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During Thanksgiving meal preparation — or any time your family’s at work in the kitchen — you can gather some basic supplies for growing your own plants. Instead of tossing out your vegetable and fruit scraps, ask your family to save them. You can try growing them!

What does a plant need to grow? Sun, water, and soil.

Do all plants need soil to grow? No — some plants can be grown without soil. This is called hydroponic gardening.

When you eat celery or lettuce, do you use the stalks and then discard the base? What do you do when your potatoes grow roots in the pantry? Do you toss them? These vegetables can regenerate from the base of the plant and regrow new, which is called vegetative propagation.

You will need:

Leftovers to sprout — try celery base, romaine lettuce base, or avocado pit

Clear cups

Wood skewers or toothpicks

Knife

Cutting board

Cup or spray bottle for watering

1. Gather your leftovers and ask an adult to help you cut the top off the celery and romaine lettuce, so there are 2 inches of the root end left. If using an avocado, wash off any residue.

2. Once you’ve finished chopping, grab a few clear cups to use as a pots and fill them with water. Place the lettuce root end, celery end, or avocado pit (broad end down) in the cups so they are about 1 inch into the water.

3. Carefully poke into the avocado pits, celery and lettuce with toothpicks or skewers if needed to help hold it partially submerged into the water. Do not poke toward yourself or your hands. Watch it grow! Make an estimate of how tall you think the growth will be after 14 days.

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4. Every 2 days change the water and record your data. Write down your observations such as color changes, when growth starts, and growth measurements. After they sprout, you can try to transplant them into a pot with soil or outdoors (in the spring/summer). Keep the soil evenly moist and watch your scraps turn into beautiful plants!

Reflect:

Did your plants grow more or less than you expected?

What are some variables that could affect the growth of your plants?

What would be some reasons to grow your own vegetables?

What could you do with your vegetable scraps besides throwing them away?

What is the advantage of planting them and being able to regrow like this?

Try another vegetable on your own! Consider experimenting with scallions, bok choy, cabbage, or even a pineapple top. Have fun!

Lesson authored by Amy Forrette and Maya Hayslett on behalf of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Iowa 4-H Youth Development.

To get your child involved in fun learning opportunities, check out Clover Kids (grades K-3), 4-H (grades 4-12), Lego Teams, and hands-on educational kits for checkout at extension.iastate.edu/linn/4h.

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Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Linn County helps build a strong Iowa by engaging Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. The 4-H Youth Development program empowers youth to reach their full potential through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences. Linn County Extension Office website: extension.iastate.edu/linn.

KIDSGAZETTE ARTICLES

11:59AM | Mon, January 18, 2021

11:58AM | Mon, January 18, 2021

11:58AM | Mon, January 18, 2021

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