Each spring, the kids and I enjoy planting seedlings. I think this is so very important, as gardening provides children with many lessons. Plus, did you know that if kids grow their own food they are more willing to try it? Each year we try at least two new seeds. This year we chose cucamelons and red noodle beans.
After the winter we had this year, we were all desperate to get our hands in the dirt. So last week, we started our first round of seedlings. This spring tradition is an easy one to start. I love purchasing the seed trays with the bottom base tray, the seed trays, and the clear lid. The clear lid is a great way to keep your seeds evenly moist and helps them to germinate quicker. It forms a miniature greenhouse for the seeds to grow.
The first step is to fill all the seedling trays with soil. We use an organic seedling starter blend. Be sure to tamp down the soil but don’t compact it.
Next water the trays before adding the seeds. It may take a moment or two for the water to soak in. It’s been a while since the soil took a drink! Give it time. The soil should feel a bit more moist than cake. It should not be soggy. If that is the case, just put it aside for a day or two to dry out, then plant your seeds.
One easy way for the kids to make the holes for the seeds is with the end a ball point pen. We also cut twist ties and write on them with permanent marker the names of the seeds. These labels are small and fit perfectly underneath the plastic lid. I always have the kids place at least 3 seeds in each hole. This way we can be sure at least one will germinate and begin to sprout. Success is an important part of gardening. Failures come too, but I prefer those later.
It’s now been three days since we planted our seedlings. We have left them perched on a long windowsill that gets morning sunshine; just perfect for the baby seeds. Already new life has begun to sprout.
As the seeds grow a bit larger, the kids and I will have to make a decision. In each little pot, we will leave the seedling that appears the strongest to us and gently pull the others out. This way we are guaranteed a strong plant for the garden and not three plants that had to compete with one another for nutrients. Will you be starting your garden from seed? If so what will you be growing this year?
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest