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Use gravity to grow with kids

Gardening creates fun and learning experiences through planting and cultivating seeds for small children who are inquisitive about everything. Feed their curiosity by growing with gravity.

Gardening does not have to be just a row of carrots in the garden any more. Many of the plants we love to grow in gardens actually do very well in hanging baskets. Tomatoes are just one of these plants and their sweet, juicy fruit is a great way to introduce kids to the concept of eating their own freshly grown produce.

Who does not love fresh salsa or a simple spaghetti sauce made from home grown tomatoes? Start easy with the Miracle-Gro Kids Gravity Gro Station, a hanging tomato planter complete with seeds, soil and growing instructions. This outdoor planter is designed to grow the tomatoes upside down, which keeps the vines and fruits within reach of smaller children. It is also a learning opportunity, showing how plants respond both to light (by growing up toward the sun) and gravity. This project also works for families who do not have a backyard in which to plant vegetables, because the pot can hang from a deck overhang.

Even in a small yard or balcony space, kids can still get a garden growing. Consider using containers and trellises for a vegetable garden. Plants that normally take a lot of space like squash, cucumbers, zucchini and melons actually do very well when grown up a trellis or fence. You have been educating your kids about eating healthy, getting enough sleep and being active in playtime, help them to see that other living things need similar treatment. Give plants a head start by planting them in a high-quality potting mix and keep them growing strong by watering regularly and feeding every two weeks with Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed All Purpose Plant Food. Start a growth chart and document the upward growth of your plants, just like you do your kids. Have children measure the plants and see which varieties grow tallest. Kids will also enjoy weighing their harvest. Weigh each fruit or vegetable picked and add up the total at the end of the growing season. How many pounds of fresh produce did you grow?

The Miracle-Gro Root Viewer is the perfect project for little kids, and can also be planted at any time of year. This kit comes with Miracle-Gro Gro Mix, onion, carrot and radish seeds and instructions to help the vegetables successfully grow. This kit is designed to provide the curious gardener with an up-close view of their plant’s growth, above and below the soil. Roots grow down in full view, as the leaves and stems grow up. This is a great way to teach children about what is happening below the surface with all plants. Ask questions and work together to find the answers. What do roots do? If the roots for a carrot are this big, then how big are the roots for a tree?

Eating vegetables and fruits is a natural part of a healthy diet. Take a look at each meal you and your kids eat together. Talk about which items on your plate could be grown in your garden, and which cannot. Search for new recipes that incorporate the fruits and veggies you are growing. When harvesting produce this summer, ask children which recipes they would like to make for a tasty meal. Try making pizzas topped with basil, tomato slices and fresh mozzarella. Or, a simple salsa with tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and onion. Be sure to taste it all and share the extras with friends or family. You may be surprised at how much produce you can grow in a small area.

To find additional ideas, tips or recipes, visit Scotts MiracleGro.

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