Tiny Garden, HUGE Impact: Indoor Gardening in the Classroom
A note about the author: Kaye Lindsley is a Montessori preschool teacher and Summer Programs Assistant Coordinator at Willowwind School in Iowa City, IA.
Did you know you can grow carrots INSIDE? You need the correct set up, but it is certainly possible! Just ask my preschoolers at Willowwind School.
First, you need the right kind of carrot - Tonda di Parigi carrots, to be specific. They are somewhere between the size of a cherry tomato and a radish. I purchased a packet at Earl May.
Two years ago, with the support of a Farm to ECE grant, I purchased an indoor garden...also from Earl May. This garden has indoor grow lights, a canopy cover, multiple trays for planting a variety of items, and it will not take up a lot of real estate in your classroom. This has been one of the BEST investments for teaching about plants and gardening. The kiddos truly enjoy watching the life cycle of plants develop right before their eyes. Not only have the kiddos planted carrots, watched them sprout, saw them grow over many weeks (a good test on patience!), harvested their own carrots and eaten them, they have also planted herbs, microgreens, arugula, and started seeds to take home. They have helped fill the containers with soil, learned how to transplant starts, watered the growing plants, and taste-tested many new items.
Providing an opportunity for the children to harvest food they get to eat has been extremely rewarding. This indoor garden has been a staple in my garden curriculum for the past two years and has made the implementation of healthy food and gardening education in our early childhood education program a huge success!