A few weeks ago I wrote about the fantastic Sow & Grow project (#sowandgrowUK) – a brilliant campaign by innocent (famed for their gorgeously delicious smoothies and juices) and GIY (Grow-it-Yourself) which is all about encouraging kids to grow their own vegetables, helping them better understand where their food comes from.
As I mentioned in my first post about the Sow & Grow project, innocent has partnered with not-for-profit organisation GIY to send out a fantastic free growing kit to a quarter of the UK's primary schools this year! The growing kit is full of seeds, cups to grow them in and even a bag of compost. The kit also includes a brilliant information pack with everything you need to know about growing the seeds, as well as plans to help teachers incorporate healthy eating in to their lessons, so everything they need to get the kids fully involved.
I am really enjoying taking part in this project as I think it's such a brilliant way to educate children about where their food comes from. I'm seeing first hand with my own children just how much the simple act of growing a few plants can spark an amazing amount of excitement and interest in healthy foods, as well as inspire a love of gardening and extra enthusiasm to get outside in the sunshine!
It's been three weeks since I wrote my first post about planting our seeds; runner beans, baby carrots and cress and today I'm sharing our growing progress. I must admit I was a bit nervous about the practical part of this project - actually managing to grow something - but I'm delighted to say that so far we've had success on all fronts and the boys are absolutely over the moon with their newfound gardening skills!
Just have a look at their proud little faces with their runner bean plants below! This project has got them so excited about growing their own food and it's lovely to see how interested they've become in finding out where our food comes from, as well as an intense interest in gardening.
Runner Beans: Not only have our bean plants well and truly sprouted, they're rapidly outgrowing their cups! This week we've started popping them outside each day to start the process of hardening off - getting them used to the cooler outside temperatures with a view to planting them out in a week or so, as long as the weather doesn't turn too cold again. According to our Sow & Grow resource pack, runner beans really hate the frost! We'll need to bring them in each evening to keep them safe from the colder night-time temperatures until they are ready to stay outside. Once they're ready for planting, we'll need to build a simple wigwam of bamboo canes for them to grow up then plant them in the ground at the base of it. The Sow & Grow cups are compostable, so we'll be able to pop them straight into a hole in the ground, cup and all.
Baby Carrots: Our carrots have sprouted beautifully, although they were scattered rather unevenly in the soil by the children! This week we thinned them out - removing about half of the seedlings to leave 7 or 8 in each cup. We tried to pull out those that had clumped together, to give the remaining carrots space to grow. The tiny green plants are edible so we tasted a few of them in the process! The carrots should be ready to harvest in another 4-6 weeks. We can't wait to see how they turn out!
Cress: The cress was the easiest of all to grow - it seemed to start sprouting overnight and only took a matter of days to reach a size big enough to harvest. The photos below were taken on day 2, 4 and 6 and the boys were so happy that they got to harvest it only a week after planting! We ate our first crop sprinkled into a salad for dinner one evening, and we've since grown some more so we're looking for new ways to use it - egg and cress sandwiches will be next on the menu I think!
The boys have enjoyed growing their seeds so much that they've asked what else they can grow to eat this year, so during a recent trip to the shops we browsed the seed packets and chose some more foods to try to grow. We've got the seeds for yellow and green courgettes, cherry tomatoes, red cabbage sprouting seeds and some sunflowers too. We're really hoping they'll be as successful as our Sow & Grow seeds have been so far!
We can't wait to harvest our carrots and runner beans, though we'll have to be a little more patient waiting for those than we were with the cress! We're also looking forward to trying these fun recipes from fellow blogger Emily Leary from A Mummy Too once we've harvested our veg:
Plus revisiting some of our own favourite recipes (we may need to plant a few more carrots though!):
Growing your own food is healthy, delicious and fun for all ages, and even the smallest food growing experiences can change the way kids think about healthy food. Are you growing any foods with your kids this year? If not, why not join us and have a go at growing your own too? You don’t need a lot of garden space or experience, just grab some seeds and give it a go!
Is your school signed up? If so then upload your photos at https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions!
Following the repackage of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack. Available nationwide now in most major supermarkets. Good luck!
Disclosure: This blog post was commissioned by innocent in support of the Sow & Grow campaign. I was compensated for my time however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.