The Explorer Magazine Summer 2021 - Page 18

JUNIOR

E PLORERS

MATERIALS 5 oz cup Potting soil Vegetable seeds Small shovel Spray bottle of water

LET ’ S GET GARDENING

A fun and educational project for children is to plant some vegetable seeds in paper cups and watch them sprout .
PICK OUT SEEDS Going to your local gardening store and browsing their selection of seeds is part of the fun . Ask your little one what vegetables they like , which ones look tasty , or how they can cook them for meals .
GATHER MATERIALS Once you have your seeds picked out , it is time to gather all your materials . Use a small tray to put your cups on for easy transport and fast clean-up .
PREPPING CUPS To avoid over-watering your baby plants , make small holes on the bottom of each cup for any excess water to drain . You can use a small knife to make four little slits .
Fill each cup with potting soil using a spoon , stopping about one inch from the top . Warning : this will get messy ! To make it a little easier to scoop , pour the potting soil from its original giant bag into a small bowl .
PLANTING YOUR SEED Now that your cups are full of dirt , it is time to plant your seeds ! Read each seed packet for how deep they should be planted . Some of the small seeds can be sprinkled onto the surface while the larger ones will need to be buried . This can range from ¼ inch to a couple of inches . Once all the seeds are in , cover lightly with potting soil . Press down gently .
LABEL YOUR CUPS As you plant each seed , be sure to label each cup with what will grow . Otherwise , once all the cups are covered with soil , they will all look the same until little sprouts start to emerge !
You can label your cups by simply writing on the cup .
WATCH YOUR SEEDS GROW Little seedling roots need both air and water to thrive . To keep the soil moist , use a spray bottle to lightly spray any time the soil starts looking dry .
Place your cups with seedlings in a warm location , such as on top of the refrigerator or in the sun . Another option is to make a makeshift greenhouse by placing plastic wrap over your entire tray . This traps moisture and creates a greenhouse environment to nurture those seedlings .
Check your plants every day for signs of growth ! You will be surprised at how fast the seedlings emerge .
As soon as your seedlings sprout , place your cups in a bright location , such as a sunny window . Once the last frost has passed and your seedlings have grown enough , you can transplant them to your outdoor garden ! You do not have to worry about handling the seedlings and moving them from the cup to the garden . You can transplant the entire thing – cup and all – right outside !
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