Felicia White of Hillsboro is on a mission: to teach her children about gardening.
“I want them to learn that they can grow what they eat,” she said.
White is just one of the homeschooling mothers across the nation who plans to plant a garden this year to fulfill science subject requirements. While there is still snow on the ground, White believes it is important to get a garden started early, in order to extend the growing season. Last week, White bought all the supplies she thought she needed — soil, seeds and a watering can — but she forgot one important element: pots.
She didn’t know what she was going to do. Her children were excited to plant their gardens — and she was determined that she was going to make that happen. She looked for flower pots, but couldn’t find any that she was interested in. That’s when it came to her: they could start their plants in eggshells. So she ventured out to Carlsons’ Grocery in Marion where they had an ample supply of eggs available.
“It’s a perfect solution,” she said. “This way I don’t need to buy pots. Plus my kids will learn to be resourceful. You don’t always have the money to do projects like this, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do what you want to do. You just have to figure out how to do it in a more cost-efficient way.”
White said she considered purchasing the cheaper, commercial grade eggs. But, in the end, she decided to go with the farm fresh eggs, knowing that they would be more durable — something that she knew would come in handy.
“My kids are 6 and 7,” she said. “They’re not very patient and they break things easily. Commercial-grade eggs would probably work for this project if I was doing it with 20-year-olds, but even then, it might not work. Also, the eggs are usually older, which causes them to break more easily. Usually farmers make sure their chickens have access to more grit, which builds up a hen’s calcium count, which in turn makes the egg shells harder.”
The mother bought four dozen eggs for the project, hoping to be able to start at least 36 different plants, including tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and lettuce.
“I bought the seeds online,” she said. “I’m hoping that we’ll get them going and that they’ll be far enough along that we can put them in the ground by April. It’ll be a good experience for the kids. They’ll learn all about what it takes for a plant to grow.”
White said she plans to give each of her children a plot of land. They’ll plant the plants from their starter gardens, and wait for them to grow. She said that each day the children will be expected to maintain their plants, until harvest time.
“They can water and weed all of the plants,” she said. “It shouldn’t take them too long each day. Then, when they’re ready, we’ll harvest all the vegetables when they’re ripe for the picking. There’s nothing better than getting to eat fresh produce straight from your own garden.”