Playing with dirt ranks pretty high on the list of fun things to do for many kids. This gardening project lets kids do just that, and learn several lessons to boot! Before you and your kiddos plant your seeds, take a trip to the produce section of your favorite grocery store, or visit a farmers’ market. Explain that we grow and eat several types of vegetables and fruits, and ask kids to pick their favorite. Want to go deeper? Tell kids about the different parts of the plants we eat. For example, carrots and radishes are roots, celery and asparagus are stems, lettuce is the leaf of a plant, broccoli and cauliflower are the flower and tomatoes are the fruit of the plant — and we often eat them whole, which means we are eating seeds, too.

Materials

One 12 pack egg carton

Seedling soil

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Four varieties of seeds: 3 sugar snap pea seeds, 3 pumpkin seeds, 3 cucumber seeds, 3 sweet corn (or other vegetables or herbs of your choice)

Large plastic baggie with twist tie

Dark crayon

4 small cups

Instructions

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1. Fill each cell of the egg carton with seedling soil.

2. Sort 3 seeds of a single variety to 1 cup, repeat with remaining varieties.

3. Plant one seed in each cell. (You are planting
more than one cell of each vegetable to make
sure that at least one grows well.)

4. Use the crayon to label each cell and keep track of which seeds are which.

5. Gently water the seeds. Place the egg carton into the plastic baggie and close it with the twist tie.

6. Put your mini-greenhouse on a sunny window
sill and watch your seeds sprout.

7. Once they have sprouted (about 1 to 2 weeks), remove the plastic bag and allow the seeds to continue to grow and root out. Check the seeds for water and make sure they don’t dry out.

8. Once the roots are established, the new vegetable starts can be transplanted into 4-inch pots. Between May 1-15, plant the vegetables outside in the garden.

More lessons about seeds

All seeds are programmed to grow just like kids. Ask your kids if they can list what seeds need to grow.

Moisture Talk about where seeds get moisture (rain, the hose, etc.).

Air Just like we need air to breathe, seeds need carbon dioxide and oxygen to grow, which they get from water.

Warmth Warm air encourages the seeds to germinate.

Light Ask your kids where seeds get warmth and light. The sun, a grow lamp?

Eve Hansen is the Event Manager at Al’s Garden & Home. She loves playing in the dirt with her own little one and can’t wait to plant her edible garden every year.

Al’s Garden & Home offers a new Kids’ Club class once a month at each of their locations in Woodburn, Sherwood, Gresham and Wilsonville. Learn more at als-gardencenter.com/kidsclub.

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