There are some interesting and exciting growing activities that can be done with kids in Bangkok, involving little cost and maximum enjoyment. Not only do such projects show children how easy it can be to ‘grow’, ‘cherish’ and ‘harvest’, they also surreptitiously teach some of the fundamental basics of botanical biological processes. But much more than that, it’s really good fun, a little bit messy and a great way to spend time with your children.
Here are some ideas for how you and your kids can get growing:
Collect Seeds to Plant
Children love munching through fruit. Why not look for seeds in your fruit to collect and plant? You could grow your own orange tree, dragon fruit plant or grape vine from bits you would have thrown away. Just collect the seeds and wash off all the remaining fruit. Leave the seeds to dry off in a cool, dark place (away from anything that might want to eat them). Don’t let them dry out completely as this may prevent them from germinating. Your seeds are ready for planting out in pots, or to keep somewhere cool and dry until you’re ready to plant them.
Sprout an Avocado Pit
This is easy and fun! Remove and wash the large seed in water. For propagation purposes, the broad end of the seed is considered to be the bottom. Insert several toothpicks into the sides of the seed, about halfway up the pit. Then suspend the seed in a glass of water. The bottom half of the seed should rest in water (maintain the initial water level). In a couple of weeks, the pit will crack and a single root will appear at the submerged end. When the root is two or three inches long, it is ready for planting.
Grow a Pineapple Tree
Next time you buy a whole pineapple cut the top off and put it to one side while you enjoy your delicious fruit. When you’re done, take the top of the pineapple and plant it in a pot, with a little of the flesh under the surface of the soil and the green leaves pushing up. Water and leave it in the sunshine; keep it well watered until the roots have developed, then water when needed. Before too long you should start to see some flowers forming…
Cultivate a ‘Herb and Spicy’ Woodland
In the tropical climate of Bangkok, our outside spaces lend themselves well to woodier herbs. Leafy plants can also be grown but tend to be trickier as they’re more sensitive to the heat and sun. Ideal woody herbs and spices include:
- Garlic (grows as a root)
- Galangal (also as a root)
- Chilli (take care and use gloves when harvesting to protect children from the heat of the chilli)
- Kaffir lime leaves
- Bay leaves
- Thai Basil
All of these plants can be bought from local garden centres or farmers markets and will produce some of the freshest (and most delicious!) herbs and spices for you to use when cooking. You can plant the herbs and spices directly into the ground or into pots.
These are just a few ideas that can be conducted in the garden or on patios and window sills. All that’s required is a little time, care and attention — to ensure that your children understand and enjoy growing for themselves and the family.