Where does food come from? When I asked Rach, her quick reply was “The shops!” I know she is technically right, but… I want to retort: “There is a whole bunch of work that nature and humanity have to do together in order to get that food to the shops before we can buy and eat it”. Yes, I am THAT parent. So I take a breath and decide it is time to teach my child a lesson about food. A lesson on how to plant a food!
An adventure with plants
The lesson begins on a Summer morning at about 5.30 AM. I am sure children are made to be farmers – why else are they always awake at the crack of dawn? Rach’s opening mantra for every morning is “SUN’S AWAKE!” which is really just her kind way of saying to me “Wake up”. I’m up; I’m caffeinated; lesson can commence.
I’ve decided the best way to teach Rach about where food comes from is to show her how to plant a food. Since she was born, she has witnessed mommy in the garden: digging, planting, watering. As soon as she was old enough, she would help out. She has planted and watched seeds turn to plants, and I’ve shown her seeds inside the dead head of a flower, which we have planted again.
Favourite foods to plant
Our conversation about where food comes from made me realise we have never spoken about food as plants. So for our plant a food lesson, we are planting tomato seeds. I choose tomatoes for these 5 reasons:
- Tomatoes are super easy to grow
- The seeds germinate in about a month (we need quick for my impatient daughter)
- They make pretty yellow flowers
- The seeds inside the fruit are observable (yes, tomatoes are considered a fruit)
- And… Rach loves tomatoes!
I set up a little area in our garden for seed planting. I grab her little spade and a container, as well as Sow Delicious seed slab (how cool is this?) We fill up the container with soil from our garden, but is definitely better to use potting soil as it’s much richer in nutrients. Rach pushes the seed slab about 2 cm into the soil and we both cover up the slab (if you have ordinary tomato seeds or an actual tomato, plant it about 1 cm deep).
Then, we water just until the soil is moist. Her impatience is starting to sprout as she watches the container and asks “When can I eat the tomatoes?” Every morning we take a few minutes to check on our tomatoes and water them gently. By day 7, we have a young tomato plant bursting through the soil. Rach is super proud of herself that she played a hand in the growth of that tomato. She is also practicing patience as we wait for the next exciting development in the life of our tomato…
If you want to plant a food at your house, it is super easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide of how we did it.
What you need:
- Biodegradable container
Invitation to play:
- Choose a sunny area on your kitchen or bathroom windowsill for your seed pot
- Add soil to your pot
- Sow seed 1 cm deep
- Check on seed pot every day and keep soil moist
- Talk about what is growing… Investigate with your child to discover what food they are growing and where the plant is in its life cycle.