With schools affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning has become the new reality for the remainder of the school year.

This has opened the door for some creative ways to make learning fun and interact with each other. With warmer days it gives us the opportunity to take the classroom outside.

Whether it’s a virtual Zoom project with the whole class, or just a personal project at home, we have a couple of planet friendly Earth Day activities to share.

Egg Carton Vegetable Garden for Earth Day

Project 1: Egg Carton Vegetable Garden

Materials Needed:

  • Recycled Paper Fair Oaks Farms’ Egg Carton
  • Pencil
  • Potting soil
  • Waterproof tray
  • Herb or Vegetable Seeds

Directions:

Use a pencil to carefully poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of each individual egg cup.
Fill each egg carton cup 3/4ths full of potting soil.
Plant a few seeds in each cup, then finish with a thin layer of soil. As an option you can soak your seeds the night before.
Place your egg carton on a waterproof tray and set it in a warm, sunny spot inside your house. Preferably by a window, but not if it’s too drafty. Temperature is important for germination.
Water each cup with a small amount of water every other day, keeping the soil moist but not soaked. Once the seeds sprout, photosynthesis has started and the sunlight plays an important role.
When your sprouts have multiple sets of strong leaves, they can be taken outside and planted in the ground.
Each cup can be cut or torn individually and planted directly into the ground because they will biodegrade.

Project Glossary:

Germination:
The development of a plant from a seed or spore. When the seed fills with water, the water activates special proteins that begin the process of seed growth. First the seed grows a root to access water underground, then the seed sends a sprout towards the surface.

Photosynthesis:
The process that plants transform light energy into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds.

Biodegrade:
The ability of materials to break down and return to nature. In order for packaging products like the egg carton to qualify as biodegradable, they must completely break down and decompose into natural elements within a short time after disposal.

Worm Garden distance learning project for Earth Day with Fair Oaks Farms

Project 2: Recycled/Reused Glass Jar Worm Farm

Materials Needed:

  • Empty Tomato Sauce or Mayo Jar (with Lid)
  • Hammer
  • Large Nail
  • Potting Soil
  • Sand or Play Sand
  • Oatmeal
  • 2-4 Earthworms

Directions:

Use the hammer and nail to carefully poke holes in the lid of the jar. Might be a good idea to ask a parent for help.
Scoop up some potting soil and pour about an inch into the jar.
Measure a teaspoon of dry oatmeal and sprinkle it on top of the soil.
Then add about an inch of sand.
Continue this layering process until you have about two inches of space left at the top of the jar.
Dig around outside and find 3 or 4 earth worms. Add them to the jar and screw on the lid.
Place the worm farm somewhere dark, where it’s not in direct sunlight.
After about a week, take a peek at the jar and see how the worms have adapted to their new farm.
Each week, add a little bit of water to the jar to keep the worm farm moist.
Every month, add a teaspoon of oatmeal for the worms to eat.
If you would like, you can move your worm farm outside by putting the worms in the vegetable garden you started. Earthworms are very beneficial to our soil.

When worms burrow through the soil, they create small tunnels which loosen and aerate the soil. This allows air and rainwater to reach all parts of the soil. Plant roots need to be exposed to air and water in order to grow, so a garden that has lots of worms is very healthy.

In your jar, you should notice the small tunnels and pathways the worms have created. Worms also help the soil by break down organic matter, like the oats you’ve added into things that plants can use. When they eat, they leave behind castings that are a very valuable type of fertilizer.

Project Glossary:

Aerate:
Breaking up the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to help the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous plants.

Happy Earth Day!

We hope you enjoy these activities and continue to care for our shared planet. At Fair Oaks Farms, part of our mission is to reduce our carbon footprint. Watch Mike Rowe explain how we transform our farms’ waste into energy by way of our anaerobic digesters. The goal is to achieve a zero carbon footprint. This year the use of CNG will reduce the amount of diesel that our milk tanker/trailers use by 2 million gallons. You heard that right, we’re powered by poo!

If you’d like to know about more Fair Oaks Farms, and receive links to other fun learning activities, sign-up to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.