The cold nights have settled in and the kids are still reeling from the bountiful harvest. But they are starting to feel the emptiness that the cold brings in the garden. Bring the garden inside. The kids will wonder at the things that can be done with an inside garden.
Here are six ways to make indoor winter gardening just as fun as an outside garden.
A major part of indoor gardening is finding containers for the plants. The kids might show more enthusiasm for an indoor garden if they have some sort of decorative container to look at.
You can find decorative containers in just about any home and garden store. By the end of fall most containers will be sold or very limited in quantity. Planning ahead will certainly get the best bargains. But if you don't have the foresight to shop ahead for the indoor garden, have the kids decorate their own containers using the pots that are available.
Cook something up
Another way to build enthusiasm is to let your child make up a recipe using one or more of the indoor garden plants. The kids might think about what recipe they'd like to cook up and write it down. Some ideas might be tomato sauce from kid-grown tomatoes, pepper stir-fry with those bell peppers the kids love and even salad from fresh-cut lettuce.
Choose your own seeds
Give the kids a seed catalog and have them order their own seeds. You can also take them to any home and garden shop before the winter nights settle in and get seeds. Sometimes the seed packets are on sale at the end of the normal garden season.
Getting the kids involved in a science experiment can curb the boredom that settles in during bleak winter nights. Let the kids design the experiments. One science experiment that is fun to perform is to see how light affects plants. The kids can observe this many ways. One way is to take two identical plants and cover the leaves of one plant with aluminum foil while leaving the leaves of the other plant uncovered. Place the plants near a sunny window and observe for a few days or even a week. Alternatively, you can use the same plant and cover just two or three leaves. You could use grow lights if you use those for your indoor garden.
The kids could also test seeds of the same plant from different companies to see which ones grow better.
One way to take advantage of an indoor garden is to use the plants you grow as gifts for the winter holidays. Some good ideas are the Christmas Cactus, flowers, herbs and even a small pine tree. The plants are wonderful opportunities to give a thoughtful and different gift and save a little money in the process. The kids can decorate the pot if they'd like and add a bow and a small tag with instructions on how to care for the plant.
Many plants can be started inside. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant require long, warm growing seasons for the best production, and by starting them in the indoor garden the kids will likely ensure a bountiful harvest for next year.
Getting ready each year for the next year's garden can be exciting. There are all sorts of things the kids want to plan. Growing an indoor winter garden just keeps that heightened sense of wonder going all year long.
Dandelions are so much more than just your average weed.
Go on a nature walk with your child and help him or her gather different types and colors of leaves.