Finding ways to involve your children in fun and educational activities at home helps to bridge that gap. Planting seeds from common fruits is one way to do that.
When you provide the soil, children can easily save seeds and pits from fresh fruit and pop them into the soil to grow an assortment of plants. Although you can certainly designate pots of soil for seed planting — you can always do what my mother did.
Whenever she finished off an orange or some other piece of fruit, she tucked the seed into the soil of an existing plant. Sometime later, some unknown plant would emerge when she least expected it.
If you prefer a more organized approach, go ahead a fill an assortment of pots with a mixture of equal parts peat moss, potting soil and perlite and get ready to grow new houseplants.
Begin with oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits as these germinate within a few weeks and make attractive plants. You can experiment with other seeds later, but these will get your youngsters off to a good start with seeds that are easy-to-grow.
Tuck the seeds into the soil to a depth of one inch and firm the soil down with your hands. Water to moisten the soil and keep the soil moist until seedlings appear. A sunny windowsill provides the light these plants need to thrive.
Grow citrus plants inside as houseplants, or move them outside to a sunny location when summer arrives. Although they thrive outside all year in Southern climates, citrus cannot tolerate cold weather and must be moved inside for the winter in Northern climates.
Save the pit when you make that batch of guacamole and prepare for it for planting. Wash the seed to remove residue and allow it to dry for a day or two. Suspend it — pointy end up — with toothpicks over the top of a glass of water. The water should just touch the bottom of the seed at all times. Within weeks, the seed splits and roots begin to form in the water. Once roots have formed, the top sends up a green shoot. Once the top shoot appears, plant the seed in the soil so that the top 1/3 of the seed remains above the soil level.
Slice a one- to two-inch section off the top of the pineapple and remove the flesh with a spoon or scoop, leaving the core intact.
Fill a shallow container with pebbles and position the pineapple top amid the pebbles so that they hold it upright. Add water to cover the bottom of the pineapple top. Roots soon form at the bottom and new shoots appear at the top within a week or two.
Transplant the pineapple plant to a plant pot filled with equal parts potting soil, peat moss and perlite and cover the crown with soil. Firm down with your hands. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Although it’s unlikely that your new plants will produce the fruit of their own, they do create interesting plants and give your children and opportunity to observe the growing process.