Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sprouting Seeds with the Kids {Guest Post}

By: Jakob Barry

Sprouting seeds with our kids is an amazing opportunity to not only bond with them but teach a few things about the world without getting too much into the nitty-gritty. After all, there are so many lessons a child can learn from cultivating a plant, watching it grow, and enjoying its fruit. It's an experience which can positively affect them for years to come.

That's because the excitement generated when a little green stem pops through soil and grows is lasting, even when it doesn't always work out. Then, when it matures into a plant and bears fruit or flowers it's a rewarding feeling for everyone involved.

If venturing into the world of sprouting with young ones interests you, here are a few things to consider before getting started.

  • Start small - As with most new experiences it's always good to start small, even if only one seedling is on the agenda. That way neither you nor the child is overwhelmed with the simple task at hand: keeping it alive.
  • Time and space requirements - Next, consider the time it will take to grow certain plants and which are best suited for the task. For example, you don’t want to start with something like watermelon which will need a lot of space and takes months to bear a mature fruit, but you do want something that is (ideally) edible and matures steadily. Radishes, which grow quickly, are a good place to begin. You may also consider herbs like dill, basil, or parsley which are edible and have the added enjoyment of stimulating the sense of smell more deeply.
  • Good placement - Whether the plant is kept inside or placed outdoors, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight though not so much that it will dry out. Consider keeping it in an appropriate spot in your child's room as this allows it to be observed and nurtured more easily by your son or daughter. Just make sure to put something under the pot if you keep it indoors to prevent water from leaking out the bottom and potentially damaging a window sill, flooring or other surface.
  • Watering schedule - Wherever the plant sits, make sure to put it on a watering schedule that includes the parents so they can keep an eye on it as kids may not recognize if it's in distress or needs better surroundings. Also, making this a joint venture allows kids to take on responsibility for its care a little at a time.
  • Materials - Because this is a small scale project, you'll only need a few things such as seeds, some earth, a starting pot and a few small pots if you want to transplant seedlings. The amazing thing is that besides the seeds, everything else can be found around the house. A few scoops of earth can be taken from the yard and empty containers from milk or juice can be repurposed into pots. That being the case, this is a great project which has little cost and reaps many rewards.

Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for He blogs for pros across the U.S. like Atlanta, GA, flooring contractors.


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