Adrienne’s Programming Tool Box: Spring has sprung and so has my celery!

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Looking for a fun activity to do with your class, clients, or children while reducing food waste? Grow celery in a glass of water! I am going to post a few pictures below to show you how it is done but before I do, I want to answer the following question.

How is this a tip for the programming tool box?

Programming for kids with autism requires us to be creative and to make the most of what we have. This little gardening project which may cost you $0 if you can get someone to donate the bottom of a celery, allows you to:

  • Take pictures of the process and use them for a sequencing activity.
  • Incorporate changing water into an independent activity schedule. This can be done year around!
  • Allows you to work on counting goals (how many celery stalks do we see today? How many celery stalks are producing leaves), measuring goals (how tall is the celery today?), science goals (roots, leaves, stalks!), and more.
  • Provides a great opportunity for learners to practice planting in soil once leaves appear.
  • Once planted, incorporate a walk outside to check on your plant(s) daily. Depending on the learner, this may be a great reinforcer or super opportunity to run maintenance or other programs in the natural environment during your walk to visit the plant.
  • As with any planting project you can work on wet vs. dry by touching the soil and if you are working with someone who likes to get their hands dirty, and for whom this would be an appropriate and meaningful activity, you can teach them how to discriminate when the soil needs watering or when it is too wet by having them take a bit in their hands and squeeze it in thier palm.
    • If it doesn’t form at all the soil is dry
    • If the soil forms a small oval with a few flakes that fall off- the soil is just right and doesn’t need much water at all.
    • If the soil is a muddy mess and water spills out of your hand… too much water- no need to water today!

I can go on and on and on about instruction in the garden but I will save that one for later. Now back to our celery.


Step one: Get a celery, a knife, and a cutting board
Step 2: Carefully cut the bottom off of the celery. Place the stalks in a bag and place in the fridge, or wash and eat.
Step 3: Place the very bottom of the celery into a small amount of water. I have used glass containers so far. This is the first time I am trying this in a plastic container. Will let you know how it goes.
















Step 4: Place in a cool but not cold area that gets a bit of light.

Step 5: Change the water every few days.


My first attempt at this went really well but I didn’t transfer the celery into soil fast enough or

too much water touched the actual celery plant and the bottom portion rotted out. I am sad to say I killed her. 

First attempt: three days in
A friend of mine captioned this picture “I am Groot?”
Chillin with my buds on the sill. There is a fig seed buried in sand in the glass next to the carrot that drinks water but won’t grow leaves.






Putting this smaller celery end into a tall thin glass helped prevent me from submerging the physical plant in water. This seems to be helping to prevent rot.
Can you see the root that grew? I am transfering this cutie into a container later today or tomorrow.




















You can do this with Cabbage too!

I have had no luck with carrot yet but I am trying.


As always, I love to hear what you think! Let me know if you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions or have a few additional suggestions about how you can integrate this activity into your programming let me know!