This lesson helps young people understand where healthy food comes from. The youth will discuss what kind of plants produce their favorite fruits and vegetables. Then they will try out gardening themselves by planting some bean seeds and watching the plants grow.
Talk about: Why are gardens healthy? Growing a garden can be beneficial in more ways than just getting healthy food. Gardening can help people relax. It can also be a time for family bonding if you work together in the garden. Gardening can even be a type of physical activity. Furthermore, seeds are cheap to buy, so why not grow your own food and save some money?
Plant a mini garden. Have the young people plant their own green beans. You can split the youth into groups of four so they can plant one as a group, or you can hand out clear plastic cups to all young people to plant their own. However you wish to do this, you will need to handout a clear plastic cup (16 ounces) to everyone who will be planting seeds. Follow these steps for a successful gardening project:
Each young person or group will need to write their names on the cup so they know whose is whose.
Next use a thumbtack to poke a few holes in the bottom of the cup to let the extra water drain.
Once this is done, each cup will need to be loosely packed half way with potting soil. Make sure the soil is moist/damp.
Then place 5 to 6 seeds near the side of the cup so the youth are able to see them grow through the clear cup.
Cover the seeds with more moist soil to the top of the cup, and lightly pack it.
Place plastic wrap over the cups to help keep in the moisture, and place near a window for sunlight.
Once you see the beans starting to sprout, remove the plastic wrap and water as needed.
Continue to keep the cup in the sun.
The cups may need to be put into some sort of tray so the water doesn’t leak.
If time allows, hand out the Veggie Scramble worksheet. Allow the youth time to complete the word puzzles, then share the correct answers from the Veggie Scramble Answer Key. This worksheet may also be sent home as an enrichment activity.
You can keep the cups in the classroom and note their progress. This provides great informal, ongoing opportunities to talk about nutrition and health. Or you can have the young people bring plants home and care for them there. In that case you can, if you like, ask for periodic reports on how they are growing. Either way, once their plant has grown big enough, young people can transfer their seedlings into a big garden or larger pot at home!