Starting seedlings (finally!)

Last week, the week before Easter, we finally did some seeding for the new school garden.  I was at bit nervous, not having been at a school working with kids since the fall.  But I was also really excited to finally get away from planning and actually get to meet the kids and start working with them.  I worked with four different classes during the day, while the other teachers did the seeding themselves with their classes.  A couple of the classes I worked with were Kindergarten classes, so I read them a story about seeds growing and the patience needed for gardening (I’m going to post a list of garden books soon), and then we planted some California Wonder sweet pepper with one class and Zinnias with the other class.  With the grade 2/3 class, I started with a mini lesson about seeds and how they grow.  We then dissected some beans that I had soaked overnight and checked out the tiny plants in there, waiting for the right conditions to start growing.  And then we also planted Eva Purple Ball tomato seeds.  With the grade 3/4 class, we had a longer discussion about seeds, what they need to grow, seed parts, etc.  While I was helping students plant Okra seeds, the teacher led a couple of activities I had brought – the bean dissecting, as well as a seed-to-plant match, where the students had to match different seeds to pictures of the plants that the seeds are from.  The teacher of that class finished off the lesson by leading a discussion about why certain plants were easier/harder to identify than others.  Good teamwork!  Now I’m just hoping that the seeds didn’t dry out too much over the long weekend…

It was really great working with the kids again.  And such a nice feeling to have kids that I had just met that day excitedly say hi to me in the halls!  Can’t wait to get to know them better. 

I don’t have any pictures from seeding at the school, so I’ll add a picture of my seed-starting set-up that I have at home this year.  I seeded these guys on April 10th and 11th. 

Growing loofah seedlings in milk cartons

My seedling-staring set-up for this year. Egg carton and toilet paper rolls on my windowsill. Tomatoes, tomatillos, cayenne peppers, basil and thyme.

 Not having any windowsills with consistent sunlight, starting seedlings at home is a bit of a challenge.  I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing where there is direct sun at what times of day, so I have had some days where I’ve moved the plants around to sunny spots all day.  But of course I can only do that on the days that I’m at home, so on most days my seedlings just sit in my bedroom window, balanced somewhat precariously on the narrow windowsill.   It gets even more exciting once I transplant them into bigger pots and they need more space.  Last year I had a bit of an incident involving pots falling off the windowsill onto a carpeted floor.  Luckily, no plants were harmed in this accident.  I’m considering getting one of those growbulbs next year that fits into a normal lightbulb socket, so that I can have a bit more control over how much sun my seedlings get, but for now, I’m gonna keep on counting on sunlight.  They seem to be happy enough.

Happy growing!

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