STARTING SEEDS INDOORS
- Introduce the process of starting a vegetable garden; go over some key terms
- Discuss germination, and experiment with germinating a bean.
- Discuss why seeds are sometimes started indoors; plant seeds in seeding trays
to be started indoors under grow lights.
- chart paper with 3 words: germinate, transplant, harvest
- photographs of vegetables
- read aloud book, such as "I Am a Seed," by Jean Marzollo, or "From Seed to Plant," by Gail Gibbons.
- color pencils
- grow lights
- seed packets and seeds of the same vegetables
- seeding trays
- potting soil, or germinating mix
- mixing tray (useful, but not necessary)
- pre-written labels for seeding tray
- plastic zip-lock bags
- pre-soaked, or fresh, beans - 1- 2 per child
- paper towels
- spray bottle with water
- Decide which vegetables will be grown in the garden, and make a plan (calendar) for starting seeds
and transplanting. Look through resources and materials as needed
- Purchase seeds, and any other supplies that will be needed for starting the seeds (such as seeding
trays, germinating mix, watering tray, etc.)
- Cut out photographs of the vegetables you will be growing (a good place to find these pictures are
seed catalogues) and mount them on cardstock for durability, or laminate
- Soak dried beans overnight in water, then drain
- Make a chart with the three words: germinate, transplant, harvest, written on it
- Pre-write out labels for seeding tray, according to which seeds you are going to plant
Today we are going to start seeds for our garden under grow lights.
- Grow lights imitate the sun's light because they produce more of natural light's wavelengths,
than regular lights do.
- It's too cold right now - seeds need more warmth to germinate.
Show the words on the chart.
- That is when a root and a stem first emerge from a seed; a plant is born.
- This is when we move a seedling, or baby plant, from a small pot, and plant it into the ground or a larger pot.
- This is when we pick the edible parts of a plant.
Give out seed packets, and discuss information written on them. In particular, notice the temperature the seeds need in order to germinate (or month they should be planted in), and the number of days to maturity. This is the number of days, from when you plant the seed, to when you can start harvesting. Give out vegetable pictures so that everyone has a different one. Tell everyone to show their picture, and to try to match their seed packet with the right picture. Talk a little about each plant. Ask students if they've ever tried or seen one of them.
Show how you fill the holes in the seeding tray with soil, patting it down VERY lightly - patting the soil down too much will compress it and make it difficult for roots to grow. Then show the pre-written labels, and demonstrate how they will be placed at the front of each row in the seeding tray to indicate what was planted there. Explain that the tray of seeds will be watered after all the seeding is done - either from below, by setting the seeding tray inside a larger tray of water, or from above with a fine misting hose (a regular watering can will completely upset the seeds).
Explain that 2-3 children will plant seeds in seeding tray at a time, with an instructor, and that the rest of the group will do the germinating experiment in the meantime.
With the small group, open a seed packet and pour some seeds out into your hand. Show how small they are. Explain that because they are so small, they should not be buried deep in the soil or else the new stem that comes out of the seed won't find its way up to the surface.
Using a pencil or other narrow object, show students how you make a small, shallow hole in the soil, in one of the planting sections - the hole you make should be about 1/4" deep. Demonstrate how you carefully put one seed in the hole, and still using the pencil, lightly cover the seed with soil. Pat down once, very lightly, just so the seed is firmly covered by the soil.
Now ask one student to do the same in the next section of the tray. Keep doing this until each student has a chance to plant 2-3 seeds. Keep track of what was planted where, and put the labels in the corresponding rows.
Water the seeded tray(s).
Wrap up this activity with a good book about how a seed grows, such as, "I Am a Seed," by Jean Marzollo, or "From Seed to Plant," by Gail Gibbons.