What is a hero?
That’s the question we asked the kids in the Hy-Vee Sprouts Get Out and Grow Program on our first day of our third season back in June. All sorts of answers came about, including naming some famous super heroes, but what the kids didn’t realize was they themselves are super heroes. Heroes are brave, strong, caring and thoughtful. A hero makes sure others are healthy and strong too. Every kid is a super hero, by holding the power to create healthier lives for themselves and for their families.
And it’s easy for kids to understand that how we take care of a plant is very similar to how we take care of ourselves to grow healthy and strong. A plant gets its nutrients from the soil and kids get their nutrients from food (that plants produce). Isn’t it a beautiful cycle? Kids need water and sunshine to remain healthy too, just like plants. All of our kids signed the pledge to be a super hero.
Our horticulturist, Aimee, came out to the garden to share which nutrients are so important in the soil:
- Phosphorus – helps the plant develop strong roots and flowers
- Potassium – provides strength and hardiness to the plant
- Nitrogen – keeps everything looking green and healthy
We also tested the soil in our garden, you can too at home. Here’s how we did it: To pull soil plugs from multiple areas of the garden, we cut off the tips of plastic syringes (like those you get for your kids when they are on a liquid medicine) and pulled the plunger all the way back to the top (without removing the plunger). Then insert it into the garden soil. The syringe will fill up with soil and then can be plunged/pushed out into a bucket. You can mix the soil together from multiple areas of the garden and then test it to get the most accurate picture of your garden’s soil health. Here’s an inexpensive soil testing kit.
And this is a salad the kids loved! Our goal with cooking in the garden is to follow food from the garden to the plate. Making those connections and knowing where food comes from is powerful for kids. We even heard the comment of “I didn’t think I was going to like this salad, but I love it!”. Well said.
Strawberry Surprise Salad
- 4 cups fresh garden lettuce
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 3 string cheese sticks, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons of Poppy seed dressing
- Tear garden lettuce into bite-size pieces. Top with sliced strawberries and cheese. Serve with poppy seed dressing.
To rate our recipes in the garden, we use a special system so we don’t “Yuck Someone Else’s Yum”. Our golden rule.
- I like it a lot
- I like it a little bit
- I don’t like it yet, maybe next time
How are you encouraging your kids to healthier habits?