A Multiple Intelligence Lifestyle

Exposure Blossoms Curiosity,Curiosity Blossoms Exposure

Friday, March 11, 2011

Planting Vegetable and Herb Seeds with Kids

Last year was the first time Em and I planted a garden together. Like all first time experiences there were successes and failures, and room for improvement. This year it was a personal goal to start most of our garden from scratch...meaning all the way down to a seed & NOW is the time of year to start this project!
This is a valuable naturalist lesson many children live without in our modern world. When I was a beginning teacher, many of my kindergarten student's food knowledge base consisted of knowing food came from grocery stores. The naturalist in me still slightly quivers at the thought, which is why I enjoyed teaching my students to grow plants, and why I get SO excited teaching it to my own child.

Here's the supplies you'll need: Soil, seeds, small shovel or scoop, egg cartons or other containers for seedling starts, and a water bottle.

To prep your materials, poke a drain hole in each individual egg compartment. I used a knife and got it done in a few minutes.
 Once this is done, find a spot that can get messy and set-up your materials. Dress for the weather and have your child start scooping dirt in to the egg cartons. The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is now in play.

 The dirt should be loosely packed. If your child is tempted to pack it, kindly redirect them back to filling the holes up, letting him/her know we will be packing in a minute.
After we filled multiple containers, we lined them up on the deck. I did about half this work solo because she chose to go play in the yard. Which was fine by me :) I re-engaged her with the simple words Time for the seeds!!
This year I'm choosing to grow what we eat. Last year, I grew a zucchini. Although I love it, no one else in my family does:(
Today we are planting peas, broccoli, carrots, parsley, and basil. (I plan on purchasing tomato and lettuce starts from Em's preschool plant sale. We already have a nice strawberry patch from last year & I'm always a sucker for the local farmer's markets early starts. I might just get a zucchini after all :) )

Working our logical-mathematical intelligence, we counted out a few pea seeds. They really are just dried up peas :) Em thought this was pretty cool. She also gave me a good laugh when she said, "Then they will grow in our garden and we will eat them!Munch. Munch. Munch. Munch...munch", in her munching voice.
Have child/children poke a hole to the depth specified on the seed packet. I modeled the depth first. I made it a point to emphasize I needed to read the chart to figure out how deep to make the hole. I also showed her the chart to help further exercise her spatial and linguistic intelligences. 
 Once the hole is made, place the seed in.
Once the seeds are in, cover the hole with dirt. Do not pack it! 
Have your child/children spray each seed with a water bottle set on mist, not stream! Do not pour the water on! Just trust me, it will mess things up :)
I love the facial expressions she makes at times like these...
All done with the first tray.
We moved on to carrots. These seeds were a bit trickier because they are itty-bitty. I ended up pouring them into my hand and letting Em pinch them out.
Another grunting expression :)
We continued on...
At the end we gave all of them a good squirt. The soil needs to be moist in order for the seed to sprout. Be careful, you don't want to drown it though. I'm hoping ours work! 
Let them soak in the sun before bringing inside. I labeled each container for storage purpose and also to promote linguistic development. I also displayed the seed packets. When it was time to bring them inside, Em thought the seeds would already be grown. I could see the disappointment in her face when she observed there were no sprouts yet. I explained to her it will take the dirt, time, sun, water, and love and we will start to see the seed sprouts.
 Once inside, place containers in a warm and bright location. 

I ended up changing my labeling system because I found out the lid on the egg carton is just wasted space. You may want to do away with this part of the container during the prep time. 

We will continue watering these everyday using the same water bottle. It will be a great daily job for Em to help promote her interpersonal & interpersonal skills. Not to mention her naturalist skills growing before our eyes. Seed starts usually need 4 to 5 weeks inside before planting outdoors. Most importantly, all chance of frost should be gone.For more information on starting seeds indoors go to http://www.humeseeds.com/indoor.htm. I love this calendar on monthly gardening tips:http://www.humeseeds.com/projndx.htm

This is Em last year in the garden we planted together. I can't wait for this year!! It can be done and be so much FUN!! Stay tuned for an upcoming post of last year's planting adventures. Thank Goodness we are getting such a headstart this year :)
 ~Feeling Earthy,
M.I. MaMa

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