A few days ago, I found a half-popped popcorn kernel in a cup on Gracie’s desk. I didn’t think too much of it, because she’s always collecting odds and ends to tape into her journals.
I was surprised, however, when she brought the piece of popcorn to me and told me saved it because she wanted to grow a popcorn tree. She wanted me to fill the cup with soil and show her where to put it in the garden and she’d take care of the rest.
We had a little chat about corn and popcorn and how corn pops, etc. She asked me some questions, I asked *her* some questions… it was nice.
But as we were talking, I realized that the reason she liked the idea of a popcorn tree wasn’t so much that she likes popcorn, but because the kernel was so large and easy to handle. She was fascinated by the idea of the very kernel she was holding- a kernel she had plucked from a bowl of popcorn- sprouting a plant and growing into more kernels (corn). She could actually visualize it in her mind.
I decided to show her some other large seeds, including a whole pile of Nasturtium seeds that I found under the leaves of one of my plants that morning. She was fascinated by them. She liked that she could take one and examine it closely, squeeze it, etc. A lot of seeds are not really kid-friendly. But nasturtium seeds are like little nuts- they are the size of chick peas and not delicate. Gracie felt like she could not only handle them, but control how she planted them. She could make the connection between the seed and the plant. I understand that- sometimes with the tiny seeds, it’s hard for ME to understand how on earth a tiny seed the size of dust can turn into a plant. I know it happens, but it’s just hard to believe it, if that makes any sense… but larger seeds seem to make more *sense*.
After I showed her the seeds, I showed her the plant the seeds came from. And I mention that Nasturtiums are edible, which I expected to go in one ear and out the other, since Gracie is NOT a fan of salads. But then she asked me if she could taste it. I have to tell you, this is BIG STUFF for a kid that’s not only not particularly interested in gardening, but absolutely NOT interested in trying new foods.
So she ate a flower and she liked it a *little* bit. Then she had Tom come outside and try eating the Nasturtium, too.
It was a very cool experience. She’s now not only interested in Nasturtiums, but she’s keeping a close eye on the seeds (she’s going to plant them as soon as they dry out), and starting to talk about other things she’d like to try planting. And I’m thinking about container and zone friendly plants that might have larger seeds. Peas, for sure. And beans. Maybe even corn.
So lesson learned- little kids like big seeds.