Winter Kitchen Gardening

Winter Kitchen Gardening
By Barbara Simonson

Interesting activities for children's garden clubs, Cub Scouts, Brownies or your own children and grandchildren are often difficult to find during the winter months. But there are lots of planting projects you can do right in your own kitchen! Children can learn about Mother Nature by planting the seeds they find in the fruits they have just eaten.

The avocado is a good one to start with, as it rarely fails. Dry the seed for a few days and then peel the brown papery skin off of it. Place the seed two thirds of the way into potting soil, leaving the tip exposed. Water it well and give it three to five hours of sun a day. You will soon see sprouts. Be sure to pinch it back as it grows, or it will get very long and leggy.

Save the largest seeds from oranges and lemons and plant several in a small pot. Water well and cover the pot with clear plastic. Keep the pot warm, but no sun until the seeds germinate in two to three weeks. When the seedlings have at least four leaves, put each one in its own little pot. They will need four to five hours of sun per day. Water them about three times a week. Citrus plants can be very pretty with their shiny leaves and fragrant flower clusters. Did you know they were among the first plants grown under glass more than 400 years ago?

Pomegranates have become more popular and readily available in the grocery stores. Clean the seed and plant it in sandy soil. Be patient, because it will take six to eight weeks to germinate. Water your seedling weekly and give it two to three hours of sun per day. It will develop into a bushy shrub and, with luck, produce brilliant orange flowers.

Kitchen gardening is inexpensive, educational and exciting for children as well as for adults. As an added bonus, if your seedlings fail, there's no big investment down the drain! So, if life gives you lemons, make a glass of lemonade and plant the seeds!

Distributed with permission from The Garden Forum, Official Publication of the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, Inc.