Growing Seedlings

The Abundant Garden: Growing Quality Kids Through Gardening by

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Growing Seedlings: an activity for children of all ages. Starting your own garden from seeds can save a lot of money. And it’s a great experience for a child to plant seeds and watch them grow. This activity also allows an opportunity for multiple experiments.

  • Supplies:
    • empty toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, egg shells, recycled paper egg cartons, or peat pots (we found 24 at the Dollar Store)
    • scissors
    • permanent marker
    • soil (or potting soil)
    • seeds
    • teaspoon
    • a plastic box, cookie sheet, or container
    • spray bottle
    • shovel (for when you plant the rolls)
    • gardening notebook/journal
    • paper (if using a binder) – copy paper, cardstock and/or 140 lb weight paper if using watercolors
    • pencil and eraser
    • art medium of choice (colored pencils, watercolors, crayons, or markers)
    • page protectors
  • Read one or more of the following books:
  • Cut 4, one-inch slices into one side of the toilet paper roll and 1 quarter inch slice for tucking. If using paper towel, cut the roll into thirds.
  • Fold each slice down tucking one end into each other (like how you would close the top of a box if you didn’t have any tape).
  • Label each roll with the seeds that you will be planting in them (if you are planting only one type of seed in a container, then label each container).
  • Place the paper rolls into a plastic box or container.
  • Moisten the soil.
  • Using a teaspoon, fill each paper roll with the pre-moistened soil leaving about one inch at the top.
  • Plant 2-3 seeds per roll.
  • For an older child: this would be a great opportunity to try experimenting with the amount of seeds planted in each roll. Hypothesize as to which roll will grow the best plants. After analyzing your data, re-work your hypothesis until you find the best method for each type of seed. For example, plant one seed in one roll, two seeds in another, and so on… Ask questions such as, why is it better to plant 3 seeds instead of 20, or 3 seeds instead of 1? Another experiment to consider would be using different types of seeds. Throughout the weeks, using pictures and/or words, document your findings.
  • Put more soil (moistened with warm water) over the seeds. Follow the depth instructions from the seed packet. (This is another opportunity for another experiment at another time. What is the best depth to plant a seed?)
  • Place the rolls inside in a warm well lit place such as a window sill.
  • Check on the seeds daily (or multiple times a day). Continue keeping the soil moist (but not wet) using a spray bottle. Warm and moist is the key.
  • The week before you plant take the seedlings outside during the day to “harden them off.” This just means getting them used to living outdoors instead of indoors. Take them out for an hour the first day, two hours the second day, four hours the third day and so on until they are out the whole day. Before planting at the end of the week make sure the night time temperatures won’t be harmful to the plant.
  • Dig a hole the size of the paper roll and plant the entire roll in the ground. Plant the seedling at the same time you would have planted the seed outside. This gives the plant a few weeks head start and allows you to harvest yummy food sooner!
  • Place the page(s) documenting your experiments in a protector when finished and include them in the garden notebook/journal.
  • Take pictures and tag #theabundantgarden on Instagram to share your fun and for an opportunity to be featured @theabundantgarden.