It’s the middle of the winter and for folks in northern climates the gardening season can’t feel further away. Even if you can’t get outside during this cold and snowy season, there are plenty of garden-based activities that you can try out indoors. Below are five fun indoor options to try out with your students:
- Grow Salad Greens for a taste test: Greens are perhaps the most simple and straightforward indoor growing option. They grow well under lights or simply on sunny windowsills (though definitely be aware of how chilly it can be close to a window). Try planting different varieties of greens (leaf lettuce, kale, arugula, mustard greens) so that you can compare the appearance, flavor and texture of each.
- Create a Vermicomposting System: Worm composting is remarkably fun, easy, and smell free (if you do it right). Vermicomposting systems are great for learning about decomposition and sustainability—observing worms can be fascinating and you get a nutrient rich by-product that you can add to garden beds or potted plants. You can also buy pre-made systems if you’d rather not make your own (I have one of these at home and love it)!
- Try your hand at Kitchen Scrap Gardening: Turning food scraps into new plants is magical, whether you’re using avocado pits, sweet potatoes, or beheaded pineapples. Pro tip: I’ve had great success tossing avocado pits in my vermicomposting system, letting them sprout there, then replanting them in soil—one pit has grown into a 5 ft tall plant!
- Design your own Hydroponic System: While they might seem complex at first glance, hydroponic systems can easily be created in a classroom using an assortment of repurposed items. Follow the steps in the linked activity or learn from one of our Carton to Garden contest winners who made a hydroponic system out of milk cartons from their school cafeteria.
- Make Seed Paper: This is a fairly involved (and often messy) project, but it yields incredible results. I’ve done this a handful of times with my students and they’re always enthralled by the paper making process and extremely excited about the prospect of planting their own piece of seed paper in the garden come spring.