This idea of growing things from seed has been in the back of mind for 2 years now. My first attempt had failed miserably. These were certainly not the bean plants I had grown in first grade and I was grossly unaware of the process. Using a starter kit, I planted roughly 110 plants. I watered them daily. As I began to see sprouts, I naturally assumed they needed sunlight. Then, I moved the trays out to the back porch and left them to bake in the sun all afternoon. Several died that day and one after the other I was pulling sad little plant corpses out of their pods.
As it turns out, I had been a poster child for everything not to do when it comes to planting seeds. There is a very specific planting window for most seeds. Flowers are the exception. With flowers, you want to wait until after the last frost. If you are getting a late start, visit your local nursery. Buying plants is not exactly against the rules here.
Each plant also has its own watering schedule. Thankfully, that information comes on the back of each seed packet. If and when your plant does sprout, you’ll want to give it a few weeks to develop 2 sets of true leaves before you move it outdoors.
After nearly 2 hours of research, I had a game plan. The kids and I were off to the nursery to pick out seeds. They were so excited and immediately began handing me all kinds of things. I had at least 16 envelopes in my hands before demanding we pick 5; 2 of which were herbs I had insisted on. In the end, it was Black-eyed Susans, Shasta Daisies, Poppies, Chamomile, and Lavender. I grabbed a bag of potting soil and 2 venus fly traps; just in case I botched the whole project. The kids were thrilled with their new “pets”. If you have had any contact with us this week, you’ve heard all about it.
We spent the weekend trimming bushes, weeding flower beds and spreading pre-emergent over the yard. It was easy to put off the seeds partly because we had so many other valid things we could be doing and partly because I was scared to let the kids down. Theoretically, if the seeds stay in their packets, then I haven’t killed them yet.
Finally today, I gave in. Two 18 count egg cartons served as our planter. I poured the potting soil into a communal bowl and gave each child a spoon. “I need you to fill all of the holes in this egg carton but leave a little room for the seeds.” Happily they did as they were asked and praised each others handiwork. “I want each of you to pick 3 flowers to plant.” For each plant, I had labeled a clothespin and clipped them to the side of the tray. 6 divots for each plant and 3 plant types per carton.
Then using my finger, I made a little hole in each divot. To keep the kids occupied, I had them count with me: 1, 2, 3… They were completely enthralled.” Flower seeds are very tiny.” I explained. “You will need to hold out one hand flat and use the other to pinch up the seeds and plant them in the holes we’ve just dug”. I alternated between children; lavender for Logan., daisies for Kylie until we had finished dispersing the seeds. Then I had them cover their seeds with some more dirt.
“Are we going to water them?” Logan asked. “Of course we are.” I replied. The kids took their trays outside. I filled two identical glass bottles with water and followed behind them. “Make sure every plant gets when.” I instructed. Logan of course dumped his whole bottle over one half of the tray. After a brief lesson in proper watering, we were finished.
If you would like to do this activity with your little ones, I highly recommend these sites:
Good luck and best wishes!