By ALEJANDRA PAULINO, age 11

One way to help the environment is to eat foods that were grown nearby. Even better, you can try growing your own food. Here’s a guide to growing your own tomatoes on a windowsill! Once they’re ready to be plucked, you can slice them for sandwiches, cook them into a sauce or find other fun ways to eat them.

Photo: MILKNOSUGAR
Photo: MILKNOSUGAR

1. Buy tomato seeds from your local hardware store or nursery. Choose varieties that are small and mature quickly for best results. Good choices to try include Early Salad, Red Cushion, Pretty Patio and Tiny Tim.

2. Fill a large container, at least three to five gallons, with medium textured commercial potting soil, which you can find at a hardware or general store.

3. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the dirt, then cover them lightly with more soil (about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch). Water the soil to keep it moist and help the seeds grow.

4. Put the container in a bright, sunny location, such as on a south-facing windowsill or by a south-facing window.

5. Check everyday to see if your tomatoes need water. To check, poke a finger into the soil. If the soil is dry, add water. If it feels damp, wait and check again in a day.

6. Try fertilizing your plants every other week to help them grow. Use fertilizer from a hardware store or nursery. You can also make compost from leftover fruit and vegetable scraps.

7. After about three weeks you should see leaves on your plants. After two months, your tomatoes should be bright red and ready to enjoy!