Aim: To give children the skills and knowledge to be able to grow their own food, and encourage them to do this at home. Introduction: Growing your own food can involve anything from a few small containers on a patch of tarmac to a whole rethink of your Church or meeting places grounds. Growing your own food can then lead on to learning about food and healthy living. Taken from the BB Junior Pro Pack C-2-1
• Tin cans
• Seeds (cress or other suitable)
Example of a plant growing
• Grow Bag or suitable container or area of ground
• Compost (not required if you buy a grow bag)
• Watering Can (access to water)
• Seeds (decide on what vegetables you would like to grow)
Activity 1 - Newspaper Growing Pots
Aim: To make a pot out of reusable materials to enable seeds to grow.
Explain that we can reuse materials when we plant seeds, reusing newspapers to make ‘grow pots. This is a quick and simple way to get children involved in growing some food.
• Take a sheet of newspaper fold it along its length almost in half, leaving a portion at the top showing.
• Then fold this top portion over.
• Take a tin can: place it so the edge of the can is level with the top edge of the paper. Roll the can along, rolling the paper with it so as to create a paper tube.
• Place the can with paper around it top end down. Fold the extra newspaper inwards flat on the bottom of the can (this creates the base of the pot).
• Remove the can from inside the newspaper pot.
• Fill with compost and plant seed. Stand the pot in a container before watering.
Children could take the pots home and watch their seeds grow or they could be left in an appropriate place (light and watering required) at the Church or meeting place.
Extension Tasks/Adaptations: Ask the group why have we used newspaper to make our pots? Link to recycling resources and ask the group to think about anything they reuse or recycle. See topics on ‘Recycling’.
Activity 2 - What Are We Going To Grow ?
Aim: To get the children thinking about how food grows
Prepare your plant 2-3 weeks before you start your activity so you can show the children what you have done and that the seeds have started to grow. Cress could be used as a basic example.
This activity is in preparation for the practical element, where the children will plant their own seeds and grow their own food!
Ask the children the following questions and use these questions to find out how they think food is grown, what you need to do to enable it to grow:
•What vegetables can you think of?(Potato. Carrots, Beans, Lettuce, etc)
•What do vegetables need to grow? (light, warmth, nutrition)
•How do vegetables grow?
•What are your favourite vegetables?
Write up the responses you get from the children, ideally this would be done the week before to allow you to take in the responses from the children and purchase seeds.
Before you do this carry out some research and find out what seeds can be grown at the time of year.
Then explain to the children that next week they are going to plant some seeds and grow their own food.
Activity 3 - Grow Your Own Vegetables
Aim: To get involved in growing their own food.
Now it’s time to get the children growing...
Using Containers If you are going to use a container some suggestions of items which could be used are: buckets, plastic boxes, old bins, old chimney pots and old sinks etc. The only thing you need is some drainage holes, so if there is not already any holes you will need to make some!
Planting the Seeds In small groups (2 to 4 children):
• Give each group of children a grow bag or plot of soil/compost for them to plant their seeds.
• Using a trowel they should (having a turn each) turnover the soil/compost.
• To plant the seeds follow guidance on packet
• Water the seeds and then continue to water regularly (you will need to consider how watering will be carried out throughout the week if you only meet once a week). Plants in pots need watering more often because the soil dries out faster.
• Consider how the plants can be protected from weather and pests (netting could be place over where the plants are growing). • When the plants start growing they may need to be supported using canes.
You could involve members of the Church congregation to help with maintaining the plants in between your weekly meeting. A member of the congregation may be a keen gardener and have some experience in this area.
You will need to explain to the children that the seeds will take a while (depending upon seed — see back of packet for more details) to start to grow and then the food will take a while longer before it is ready to eat. It will not happen overnight!
You will need to find out the best time or right season for growing, and this may limit the choice when selecting which seeds to plant.
Kits Available A number of organisations/companies produce kits to help and encourage you to grow your own. For Potato Growing Bag go to: www.recycleworks.co.uk or Bag Garden Kit go to: www. sendacow.org.uk/bag gardens
When the plants are growing consider ways you could use the food that has been grown in pre paring a meal. Encourage the children to consider growing food at home.
Ready ,Steady Grow
Purchase a book published by The Royal Horticultural Society for children.
The book says it is ideal for “Getting Children in the garden, sowing and harvesting and learning to grow all kinds of plants, vegetables and fruits quickly and easily!”. ISBN:9781405352383RRP:£9S9
•Gardening with Children www.gardeningwithchildrencouk
•The Royal Horticultural Society - www.rhs.org.uk/Children
•Garden Centre or Outdoor Educational Centre
For full detail see the BB Junior Pro Pack C2-1