Have you ever thought about a vegetable as the perfect teacher for your children? And how about the smiley radish, with its cute red head poking through the ground?
When you are helping your kids understand the preciousness of life, vegetables are your best allies. From the time they are tiny seeds, everything about them is fascinating to a little one. And, whilst simple, they are incredibly amazing in showing how something so tiny grows into something so useful.
After spending a few months in our garden learning about common vegetables, the girls and I choose the radish as one of our favourite teachers. There are many reasons for this choice, but here are the top ones below.
- This root’s perfect little seed is easy for little hands to plant. Just follow the basic rules of planting, and place each seed at about a palm one from the other. Radishes, in fact, need quite a bit of space to grow, since they become voluminous and produce abundant foliage. If they don’t have the required space, they will only produce sprouts. These are great as well, but nothing beats harvesting the fully grown veggie!
- This veggie can be planted anytime, all year-round. It is resistant to cooler temperatures, so.. get ready to have fun in winter or in summer!
- A seed germinates quickly, in about three days. This is an awesome timespan for kids, who generally are as impatient as they are young. Once it sprouts, a radish seedling grows a little every day. Kids can take pictures of growth stages twice a week and can compare these to the growth of other vegetables. Plus, since the radish reaches its full size about one month after planting, your children will have a nice set of pictures to share with their friends.
- A fully developed radish is easy to harvest. Its hot pink (or white) head sticks out of the ground, telling your kids when it’s ready to be picked. At this point, have your little ones wear a pair of gardening gloves, as radish leaves are a little prickly. This fuzziness serves as a defense system, just like the one zucchini have. Simply pull the plant up gently by its leaves. Then rinse and eat!
- Your harvest will be versatile. The big, juicy red roots are the perfect addition to your salad. You can also cook the leaves in a variety of easy ways or add them to smoothies and juices. Your kids will thus see how one little plant – from its top all the way to its bottom – goes a long way in providing healthy food to a family.
As you see, your experience will be abundant, both in terms of harvesting as well as in learning. The children will excitedly share their knowledge – and their radishes – with their friends.
Mother Nature has provided a large variety of teachers, for people of every age. A radish is just one of the many effective ones. Enjoy its lessons with your family and friends!