Involve your children in the cultivation
For children, cultivating is sometimes a long process, but you can keep the children interested by doing small plant experiments that the children can follow themselves.
Try for example a pea in a clear glass with soil, it is exciting as you can see the root grow down the side of the glass and it goes fast. Also, try casting a few yellow peas in plaster. One day the will peas burst the plaster.
A palm garden
The more exotic seeds or pips can usually not be bought in the seed bags that are sold. Dates are a good example. It is said that date palms want their head in the fire and feet in the water. The roots of a date palm can reach 164 feet into the ground. You will succeed best with date palms if you use pips from fresh dates. In those, the germination capacity is the highest.
Rinse the pip thoroughly in lukewarm water. Let it dry. Sand it with a piece of sandpaper and place it in a deep pot of soil. Cover with 1.2 inches of soil. You can preferably sow three date pips in the same pot, then maybe one will sprout. Moisten the soil and place the pot so it gets lots of heat. Be careful the soil does not dry out. After 3 months, a sprout will appear, and then the date needs lots of sunlight. It takes time, but then there is something exciting to talk about.
Lay them in the garden in a pile of sand so the mice can't find them. In April, the shells will open, and a small radicle will appear. Now you can plant them in rows in the kitchen garden. Try the same with hazelnuts that have shells.
Clean the kernel and let it dry for 24 hours. Make a small gentle cut in the bottom and top. Place it in a glass of water so that it just touches the water. You can stick a few toothpicks into the side to hold it in place. When it starts to take root, transplant it in a pot. You can also plant it in a pot from the beginning so that 2/3 is in the ground. Put a plastic bag with a few air holes over the pot to keep the soil moist. When the plant is 10 inches tall, cut 2.8 inches from the top. New shoots will grow but they should be snipped.
It is quicker to germinate an avocado if the brown skin is removed. Remember to turn the flattest part of the kernel downwards. If you use toothpicks, do not put them where you can see it will split later.
Citrus pips are, for example, lemons, tangerines and oranges. Take out a pip. Wash it in lukewarm water. Carefully remove the outer shell so the core germinates faster. Place the pips you have between several pieces of damp paper towels and place them all in a closed plastic bag. After 8 days you can see a sprout and can now plant it in sowing soil. Place it at room temperature. Remember to keep the soil moist. Cover it with a plastic bag for the first period of time.
Some kernels and seeds germinate only if they have been exposed to temperatures between 1 and 6 degrees for a long time. These are seeds that grow naturally at our latitudes. Nuts, for example, have a shell to protect them from germinating prematurely. Stratification means to lay seeds or kernels from our latitudes in sphagnum or sand that is kept slightly moist. A refrigerator can be used to keep them cold.
Pineapple is a fun plant to grow. Cut through a pineapple 0.4 inch below the top. Remove the last piece of the stick. Pick the leaves until 2 inches from the bottom. Let it all dry for 24 hours. Now put the top in a glass of water so that the stem is covered with 2 inches of water. When it takes root, it can be transplanted.
Cut the top off of a pineapple.
Om Lars Lund
Danish horticulturist and journalist
Lars Lund has for many years engaged in the garden and greenhouse. Lars has published many books about greenhouses, and he has participated in many Danish horticultural TV shows. He is a walking garden encyclopaedia, and he has answers for most basic cultivation questions – also the more ambitious ones.
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