If you want to teach your children to appreciate the environment, it’s helpful if they know where their food comes from and a fun way for them to learn is to host a plant-a-seed party. As an added bonus, once they’ve seen the hard work and effort that goes fruit and vegetables, plus the pride that comes with growing their own, they might also learn to be a little less wasteful or picky when they eat.
Not only is it a fun way for them to learn, but a plant-a-seed party is relatively cheap too and the result is free fruit and vegetables, so here’s how to get your young one and their friends planting together.
1. Get organised
Here’s a checklist of items you will need. To make things more fun, get everyone to contribute to the items needed.
- Seeds (obviously): You can delegate seeds to one or multiple children, but if several are going to be bringing them, see if you can get them to mix it up a bit so the kids can plant a variety of fruit and vegetables.
- Pots and Containers: As with all of the supplies, you’ll need to tell them a minimum of how many to bring. The child will be able to get cheap plastic plant pots from their nearest market or hardware store, but make sure they get small ones to begin with. There are plenty of other options available too, such as takeaway food containers or old egg cartons, and choices like these also help ingrain the idea of recycling.
- Potting Mix: Again, the amount needed depends on the how many children are coming and what type of pots are being used, but aim for around 500 gm per child, especially if you are giving them multiple pots or using food containers. As with the pots, potting mix can be found at hardware stores and markets.
- Sphagnum Peat Moss: This might sound like a difficult one, but you should be able to purchase it wherever potting mix and soil are purchased. Sphagnum peat moss is a natural fungicide and you won’t need a lot, just a little to sprinkle over their pots at the end.
- Plastic Wrap: You can provide this if you want, but it’s necessary for keeping the seeds covered until they sprout.
- Labels: Not only so they know whose is whose at the end of the party, but you could add a competitive element by getting the children to update each other with photos to see which one’s plants are growing the best.
2. START PLANTING
Be prepared for a bit of mess and you want an area large enough for the children to walk around. Avoid having your plant-a-seed party in a carpeted area and it’s also a good idea to cover any tables or surfaces that you use with newspaper, then you’re ready to go by just following these simple steps:
- Fill the container with potting mix. Sometimes it helps if you dampen it a little first, but not too wet.
- Read the planting instructions on the seed packets, but with most you just need to sprinkle several over the surface. If the children are using particularly small containers, then just one or two seed will be fine.
- If the instructions say to cover the seeds with more potting mix, now is the time to do so. Don’t forget to add a little of the sphagnum moss to each container, either.
- Sprinkle with some water or use a spray-bottle to water the seeds.
- Cover with plastic wrap and remind the children to keep the container in a warm place in their home, such as on top of the refrigerator, when they leave.
3. MAKE SURE THE CHILDREN KNOW HOW TO LOOK AFTER THE SEEDS
You’ll probably need to tell their parents as well or possibly even give a printed handout, but it’s important for the children to have a plan for how to look after their seeds when they leave. The plastic wrap needs to stay on the container until the seeds begin to sprout, which will be roughly 10 days. During this time, you should be able to see some condensation on the plastic, but if not, just give a gentle spray with water. Once the seedlings have emerged, it’s time to take the plastic off and move the container to a window that gets plenty of sunlight.
When the seedlings start crowding one-another or appear to be outgrowing their container, it is time to transplant them to a bigger pot. To do this, fill the new pot with a soil mix, use a fork to take each seedling out of its current container, tuck it into the new soil, and then water. Done.