Kids feed the Roots


When kids decide to grow an organic veggie garden in their patio, they can start with a pot filled with rich organic vegetable potting soil. Kids can start seeds in a wet paper towel on top of the refrigerator. Within a couple of days, kids will see roots growing from the seeds. Kids can plant the seeds in the pot and water the soil. The root’s job is to bring food and water to the plant and to anchor the plants in the soil. Roots help keep the soil in place in stormy weather by draining water and forming a network of roots that bind the soil together and hold the plant and soil in place. Some tree roots are strong enough to grow through rocks, which breaks up rocks to make more soil. The roots take in nutrients and water through tiny root hairs from the soil and sometime store food for the plant. Roots can be different sizes and shapes.  Some plants, like carrots and beets, grow one main tap root. Other plants, like tomatoes, grow lots of thinner roots of similar sizes called fibrous roots with smaller roots branching from them. Some plant parts growing underground look like they are part of the roots but are really part of the stem. Onions are bulbs from the stem with roots growing from the bottom and potatoes are tubers from the stem that can grow new potatoes if left in the ground. Compost is the best food for the roots and the highest quality fertilizer. Compost improves soil structure, retaining more water and giving roots room to grow.  Six months after kids start a compost bin, they can add a trowel full at a time of rich organic compost to the soil of the garden containers every few weeks to feed the roots. Throughout the year, kids can feed the roots organic compost and put mulch around the plants, like the kids in the picture, and harvest abundant delicious veggies.

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