The Potato Council - no, that's not something from Harry Potter, it's a real thing - runs a project that teaches primary school children about potatoes. You can speak to your local school and get them to register for the project, but as pending homeschoolers, we registered with them and were sent a Grow Your Own Potatoes kit, and along with almost 1 million primary school children, have been growing our potatoes.
There don't seem to be any age limits, and my 17 month old has enjoyed being part of the potting and planting process about as much as my almost four year old has enjoyed watching the potatoes grow, and watering them every day. The thrill of harvesting our first potatoes was something she spoke about for days, and she really, really wanted to harvest every day.
It's been wildly educational for her, as we watched them grow, and explained the growing process, discussing things like leaves, photosynthesis, the need for sunlight and water. It's been really fabulous and we've since gone on to plant many other vegetables, all of which have been equally exciting.
When we harvested the potatoes we also found that they seemed a lot whiter inside than our bought potatoes. I'm not sure if that's just because they were fresher, but when mixed with our organic baby new potatoes from the veg box, we couldn't really tell the difference, which is a good thing, obviously.
What has been really nice with this kit too, is that it was a starting point for us, and apart from the soil, arrived with everything we needed in it.
The website also has a ton of resources, even if you don't qualify for kit, you can take a regular potato, wait for it to start sprouting, plant it in the ground and visit Grow Your Own for fact sheets, worksheets, colouring pages, videos, additional activities and full on lesson plans, if you wanted to really get into it - particularly with older children.
All in all, we're really thrilled to have taken part, and will do so again next year. Pre-registration is open now for 2014, so speak to your school, playgroup, nursery, or whatever group and apply for your Grow Your Own Potatoes.