Trees are magnificient but they also take a very long time to grow. On the other hand, they can witness the miracle of creation through the
growth of any plant and there are quite a few that you can easily grow in your classroom.
Why not start a mid-winter, Tu b'Shevat, indoor garden with a variety of plants. Observe their development and use them as opportunities to teach about our role in helping to garden the earth.
A. Toothpick Plants
Stick 3 or 4 toothpicks into a garlic clove (the flatter side
of the clove goes downward). Place the toothpicks over a saucer or cup of water so that at least half of the clove is in the water.
In about a week, the garlic plant will begin to grow. When the roots begin to grow, transplant to a pot with soil.
Do the same with avocado seeds. Again, place 3 or 4 toothpicks in the side of an avocado and place the flat end of the avocado into the water.
Wait until the root system begins to fill the cup before transplanting to a pot.
Take popcorn or kernels from decorative corn dried on the stalk and
place in well moist paper towels or newspaper.
Leave overnight and use a nail file to gentle scratch the soaked kernels. Place the wet paper into a clear container and position kernels of corn between the paper and the cup so that students will be able to watch the corn grow. Keep the paper well mosit and cover the top of the container with plastic wrap. Put container in a sunny area and when plants begin to grow, remove the plastic wrap from top. When the leaves start to grow a few inches over the top of the container, transplant to pots.
C. Pineapple Plants
Cut the top off of the pineapple, leaving ½ inch of the fruit
with some leaves sticking out of the top.
Peel away the outside covering leaving just the top unpeeled. Place with the cut side down in a saucer or cup of water so that the entire peeled portion is covered with water. Place this inside a clear plastic bag and close tightly. Put into a sunny place and watch the root system grow.
You can use the same technique to grow carrots or horseradish.
Just cut the top and place in a saucer of water, place this in a clear plastic bag and cover. If water levels should drop, open and replenish. It will not be long before you begin to see new growth. Transplant when leaves start to grow or when the roots fill the cup.