What’s growing between the carrots?

As a forest child, you get to know quite a few plants outside. And nature usually takes care of its own diverse vegetation. But with their own vegetable and plant bed, children have a whole new experience. A game of patience with more to gain than a delicious cucumber, which of course tastes much better than from the supermarket.

It was the middle of April. No sooner had the employees of the building yard delivered wood chips to dry out the muddy area in front of the DAV hut and to remove the bushes in front of the hut than the next idea was lurking. Reiner, from the DAV hut, gave the impetus for the new project: “In front of the hut there would still be room for a patch! Hardly one month later it was so far. With the help of the pedagogical staff, the parents, the children and Reiner, a lovingly staked out patch was created from the fallow slope. But that was only the beginning of the – not only – botanical adventure!

The kids discussed, “What do we want to plant here now?” One thing leads to another and the children bring cuttings and seeds from home: Tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, strawberries and even potatoes are to grow. A herb bed with basil, chives, sage and peppermint has also sprung up, and here and there sunflowers, which already cracked the 2-meter mark in July.

But for everything to grow beautifully, the bed also needs to be cared for. “How often do we have to water?”, “Where do we get the water from?” and “What is growing between the carrots?” – Curiosity was high! Although most of the time the children play in the wooded area about 1 km away, every now and then duty calls and the children set out together to stop by the bed to water and remove weeds, weed out tomatoes or put the fallen bean back in place. But above all to see the progress, if and when finally something is ripe again to snack.


Can you eat it or can it go away?

But what grows between the carrots? Well, the nettle was easy! Anyone who has ever been burned by them will not forget what they are called. And the children already know how to remove them without burning themselves. Just brush from the bottom up and out with it. But what is this other plant? “We have an app that can help us figure that out, don’t we?” Flora incognita. Immediately, one of the kids sets out to scan the flower and leaves. The app is pretty sure it must be dull-leaved dock. But can you eat it? You can, but you should be careful with the oxalic acid, because too much of it messes up the mineral balance. So better get it out so the carrots can grow well.

Another digital tool that was used for the first time during the bed project was the Book Creator. Inspired by Meike’s plant encyclopedia project at the Waldkinder Regensburg, Katrin also picked up a tablet to take a closer look at the app. This can be used to create digital books from the children’s pictures, audio recordings and sketches to document their discoveries. The children now call it the “herb book.” The nettle and yarrow have already been documented, but there are many more plants waiting to be discovered and archived.

Besides the carrots, however, there was something else to discover: a hole! Are there voles here, or perhaps a mole? The animal mystery was solved with the help of Markus Gastl, who shared his knowledge of nature with the children as a substitute. It was observed: If it is dug up again after a few hours, it is probably a vole, because they don’t like the sun. But at pick-up time, the hole was still open – fortunately, because the mole is more interested in the earthworms than in the carrots. But he probably snacked on the cucumbers, which turned out in the bite mark comparison. At least he loosened up the strawberry bed a bit. The bitten cucumber was then generously cut out and a part left to the mole. After all, the forest children like to share and learn a lot about the coexistence of humans and animals.

And what about the water? An important topic! Especially in times of drought. With the help of the children, Reiner and the parents, it works out quite well that someone is regularly on site to water the plants. The forest children take the water from their 1000 liter water container, a donation to the forest kindergarten. The container is filled by the fire department. A quick phone call is all it takes to schedule the filling. A few days later, the emergency vehicle arrived to refill the water tank. However, they were a little late, as they had to extinguish a burning field beforehand. After this exciting highlight, it was also high time to loosen the dry soil and water the plants, equipped with hoe and watering can.

Later, in the closing circle, the helper child went from child to child with the freshly harvested, sliced cucumber and everyone agreed: the cucumber from your own patch tastes much better than the one from the supermarket! With the hands in the soil and the cucumber in the mouth, sustainable nutrition education works best!


The clever foxes in the office.

“The excursion idea came about because a child wanted to go on a trip where we would ride the bus and train for a loooong time.” And what destination did the clever foxes from the Waldkinder Herrieden choose? Our sponsor office in Nuremberg! Get ready for a different kind of office day and enjoy reading the adventure report from our young authors and watching our new YouTube video!

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