13 Fun Gardening Ideas To Explore With Your Child At Home

Whether you’ve got children at home or not, one “hobby” that most of us would have started doing during the Circuit Breaker would be home gardening. You’ve got to admit, it’s a great way to keep you (and your child) occupied whenever you feel boredom trickling in. You also give yourself something to look forward to every morning as you’d rush to the flower pot to check whether your seedlings have grown any further.

Although Circuit Breaker is easing off on 2 June 2020, here are 13 Gardening Ideas that you can engage your child with whether you have to stay home or not. The act of gardening together and monitoring the growth of your creation is also an excellent bonding activity between you and your child. Best of all, gardening doesn’t cost you much so there’s nothing to lose!

Photo Credits: Food Machine Sale

#1 Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts are probably the easiest plants that you can grow at home, and it helps that it’s difficult to fail with this one.

Simply pick up some mung beans / green beans from your local supermarket and place the beans in water for at least 6 hours. Thereafter, pick up any container (or even a recyclable container) and cut some drainage holes in the holder. After rinsing your beans, place several layers of damp paper towels on the base of your container and place the beans on top of them. Then, use a second layer of paper of damp paper towel to cover the top of the beans, and within the course of the next few days, you’ve got your own bean sprouts ready for cooking!

Of course, there are different ways for you to grow bean sprouts. The one stated above ain’t the only one! Just go by the method that works for you and your little one. Most importantly, have fun together!

Photo Credits: Pexels

#2 Cherry Tomatoes

Honestly, we gave this a shot and didn’t have much results. But if you’ve got a greener thumb than us and are looking for a project that will span across a longer period of time than bean sprouts, try your hand at growing cherry tomatoes with your little one(s)!

We didn’t purposefully purchase cherry tomato seeds. Rather, we just used the seeds from one of the raw cherry tomatoes that we purchased from the grocery store for cooking. Cut open the raw cherry tomato and extract the seeds. Then, place the cherry tomato seeds at least 1/4″ deep into the soil of your pot and press the seeds firmly into the soil. Cover the seeds with loose soil and press the soil on top of the seeds to remove any air pockets. After you’re done, place a clear food-grade plastic over the plant tray and allow a slight spacing between the tray and the sheet to allow water vapour to escape. Make sure that you also place the tray in a warm area so that the seeds can germinate. After germination, remove the plastic and shift the cherry tomatoes into a bright area with indirect sunlight and water the plant daily.

Photo Credits: Pexels

#3 Chilli Padi

If you’ve got any empty ledges or balconies to fill, the chilli padi is the plant for you. Just like cherry tomatoes, you can also use seeds from any chilli padi that you already have at home. Plant the seeds in rich soil and then use polythene to cover them. It will take approximately 7 to 10 days for your seeds to germinate. Once germination happens, move your seedlings to a sunny window or to your sunny balcony for that much-needed sunlight. Do also take care to not overload your seedlings with too much water. Keeping the soil evenly moist would be sufficient for your seedlings to blossom in due course!

Photo Credits: Pinterest

#4 Ginger

Growing ginger is pretty simple as well, especially if you’ve got tons of budding ginger lying around in the kitchen, which have not been used for cooking.

Cut your budding ginger (rhizome) into pieces and leave them out in a dry location for a few days. Do also take care to only plant pieces with three or more buds (or otherwise affectionately known as “eyes”). Plant your ginger facing up 5-10 cm below loose soil and keep the soil in your pot damp. Do also avoid overwatering the ginger elsewise you risk the ginger rotting. Over time, the ginger will slowly germinate and your little one will surely marvel at the progress that your ginger planting has made!

Photo Credits: Clemson Cooperative Extension

#5 Lady’s Fingers

Whilst I’ve never been a fan of Lady’s Fingers / Okra, I know that there are many out there who can appreciate this vegetable in ways I’ve never been able to. Okra also thrives in the hot sun so for us, Singaporeans, (apart from the torrential rains) Singapore is the best place to grow your okra!

Plant your okra seeds about 4-inches deep in nutrient-rich soil. If you’re planting them indoors in a pot of soil, do take care to handle the seeds carefully and plant them at least a foot apart. As such, a rectangular pot would make more sense for okra lovers interested in harvesting their own vegetables. To speed things up, you can also consider soaking the okra seeds overnight prior to planting or alternatively, freezing the okra seeds to crack their shells.

Photo Credits: Koh Samui Sunset

#6 Lemongrass

Most commonly used in Thai cuisines, the art of growing Lemongrass from home really isn’t a complicated one as lemongrass will self-propagate.

All you’ll have to do is place your lemongrass stalks in a shallow glass of water for about a week. Do make sure that you change the water in the glass every single day and that the entire stalk of lemongrass isn’t submerged in the water. After the week of soaking, trim your lemongrass stalks to about 3 inches in length and then place them in a pot with soil. Thereafter, water the lemongrass stalks every day during the first week of planting and ensure that you place the stalks in a bright place so they can get enough sunlight to grow!

Photo Credits: Pexels

#7 Lettuce

Like the lemongrass, you can also have an everlasting supply of lettuce from a single stem. If you’re having lettuce for one of your meals, cut off its leaves at about 1 inch from the bottom and place the intact stem in a shallow bowl of water under light. Then, change the water in the bowl at least once every 2 days. After this, all you’ll have to do is watch and enjoy the process of the lettuce growing together with your little one! Shoots will begin to emerge from the stem and roots, from the base of the stem. In no time, you’d be able to enjoy another meal with the lettuce leaves you’ve grown with your child.

Photo Credits: Pexels

#8 Mandarin Orange

Now, we’re cheating with this one. During the Chinese New Year festivities, you’d often see plenty of mini mandarin orange trees at various homes. If you have the chance to, why not grab a pot with a mandarin orange plant and take care of it from home! Not only will your eyes be in a for a visual treat everytime you need a break from work or screen time (for your child), both you and your child would be able to enjoy the process of plucking and “harvesting” the mandarin oranges together.

Photo Credits: Pexels

#9 Mint

My sister was the first to bring home the mint plant that we so affectionately call “Susan”. And Susan needed a lot more “TLC” than we were prepared for, but when you showed her the love she deserved, she delivered beyond our expectations!

Like lemongrass and spring onions, it’s pretty easy to expand your mint plant collection. All you’d have to do is cut the mint stem right below a leave and then immerse at least an inch or two of the mint stem in a glass of clear water. Make sure that you change the water of the glass every couple of days, or whenever the water shows signs of murkiness. After a while, you’d gradually see roots grow out of the mint stem. When the roots have developed to a sufficient degree, you’re all set to plant the mint stem in a fresh pot of soil and start the whole cycle again!

Photo Credits: Pexels

#10 Papaya

This is also another project that we’re working on and again, with the seeds that we procured from a papaya that my husband purchased from NTUC.

After you’re done cutting your store-bought papaya, remove the seeds and wash them. Dry your seeds in a shady place (admittedly, we skipped this step) and then plant your seeds at least an inch deep in a pot of nutrient-rich soil. Of course, if you’re living in a landed property with a garden, it would be better to plant the seeds there as papaya seedlings have fragile roots. Now, if you don’t see any results within the next few days, don’t lose heart. Papaya seeds can take up to a few weeks to germinate so hang in there!

Photo Credits: 123RF

#11 Red Beans (Kidney Beans)

If you’re looking for an alternative to mung beans / bean sprouts, did you know that you can also germinate red beans / kidney beans from the comfort of your own home? The process is also the same as what you’d do with bean sprouts, so just swipe up and refer to the instructions above.

Photo Credits: AlphaFoodie

#12 Spring Onions

The method of growing spring onions is exactly the same as what you’d do with your lemongrass stalks stated above. Easy, simple, sweet. Repeat.

#13 Sweet Potato Leaves

Now, this is the plant experiment that we experienced the most success with. And pictured above is my husband, who was so proud of how his little baby turned out! As we forgot to cook our sweet potatoes, we figured that we’d try to make something out of the sweet potatoes that had already sprouted and to our surprise, things worked out!

Place the sweet potato halfway in a glass of water and elevate the sweet potato with two chopsticks in an “X” shape. After a few days, you’d be able to see roots growing out of the sweet potato (and little buds which will grow into the branches you see above and leaves)! After your sweet potato has sprouted, transfer the slips (i.e. the branch-like things) into a glass of water so that the slips can develop its roots. Once their roots are developed, you can plant the slips into another pot and the life cycle goes on. In the meantime, you can continue to enjoy the leaves from your base sweet potato and trust us, they grow fast so your little one will always have something to look forward to the following day! Sambal Sweet Potato Leaves, anyone?

Feel free to share with us pictures of your homegrown produce and any tips you have to share about growing plants at home in the comments section below.

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