Fun Summer Nature Study: Table Top Garden


Ben and began what I think will be a fun summer nature observation study. The idea came from Amanda over at Hearts and Trees. If you haven’t seen Amanda’s blog, you’ll want to take some time to peruse. She has so many fun nature and art studies, very Charlotte Masonish!
Anyway, we have put together tabletop garden, using root vegetables. You’ll need a few supplies, incuding several jars (we used everything from a baby food jar to salsa jars and one bowl, because the veggie was too large for any of our jars), toothpicks, veggies, water, and a tray of some sort. You’ll also need an area in your home that gets some light. Our kitchen table works perfectly for this.
We went to our local grocery store and bought one of each root vegetable we could find.

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From left to right, we have a carrot, sweet potato, beet, turnip, parsnip, radish, and rutabaga. Now the rutabaga had its top sliced off, so we aren’t going to try and grow it (the veggies need to still have a bit of the green stem on top in order to grow). But since we plan to roast all of the veggies and do a taste test, we thought it would be fun to try it as well.
You’ll need to slice the top off of each veggie, about 2 inches down from the top stem, and then poke 3-4 toothpicks around it in order to set it on the mouth of your jar.
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Then fill your jars with water to a level that will allow the bottoms of the veggies to touch the water.
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This is how the turnip looks up close.
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Here’s the finished tray. We will observe the veggies daily, add water as needed and record our findings (on paper and in photos) every 1-2 weeks. We can’t wait to see what happens! So check back in a couple of weeks, hopefully we’ll have some fun pictures to share!
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Ben’s first observation was that the water in the beet bowl immediately turned pinkish purple. That led to a quick discussion about natural dyes vs. artificial food coloring. We eliminated artificial colors from our diets several months ago. And although Ben had read the labels on things like his vitamins and favorite lollipops, which both mention being colored with beet juice, he had never put the 2 together. Very cool.
We’ll let you know how the test taste goes tonight!
ETA: ick! the taste test was not a hit :(

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