Welcome to Part 2 of our Gardening With Kids miniseries! In Part 1, we covered Planning A Garden With Kids. For Part 2, we will discuss Planting Seeds Indoors With Kids: researching your seeds, getting the right supplies, planting tips, and proper indoor storage. Let’s get planting!
In our initial planning stage, we decided on the specific plants for our garden. For each plant you will want to decide if you are going to plant from seed or if you will be purchasing the plants from a greenhouse.
Greenhouse plants are an easy way to go and are typically sturdy and healthy. On the other hand, planting your own seeds is a fun process and offers more variety in the types of seeds you can plant.
We typically do a mix of planting from seed and greenhouse plants in our garden. Greenhouse plants are a nice backup if your indoor seedlings do not survive too!
Planting Indoors Vs. Outdoors
Each type of seed will have its own instructions for planting. Check to see if the seeds can be planted indoors or if they will do better planted outdoors. Some plants, like carrots, don’t do well with the transplanting process of moving indoors to outdoors. The seed packet should provide this information.
One benefit of planting indoors is an extended growing period. In colder regions, you can plant around frost dates. In warmer regions, you can plant early to get the most plant life in before the sweltering summer heat.
When to Plant Indoors
For the seeds that can be planted indoors, you will want to plan ahead on when to plant them. This can vary greatly depending on your climate. Plug your zip code into this handy Planting Calendar to determine the ideal timing to plant various vegetable seeds in your region.
For indoor planting with kids, you will need the following supplies:
- Biodegradable or plastic potting containers
- Gardening tray with plastic lid or plastic wrap
- Seed starting mix
- Small shovel
- Newspaper or tablecloth
- Wooden craft sticks
- Spray bottle for water
Now the fun part – planting! Kids are the perfect helpers for scooping soil and covering seeds. Here are a few tips to help with the planting process:
1. Prep the area. Put down newspaper or a vinyl tablecloth for easy clean up afterwards. Those eager little gardeners can be a bit messy!
2. Use a seed starting mix. A lightweight seed starting mix will provide better drainage and a more sterile environment than garden soil.
3. Follow the directions. Planting depth and soil coverage requirements will vary by seeds, from 1-2 inches to fractions of an inch. If you are planting a variety of seeds, you may need to plant each one differently. Make sure to read the directions on the packets carefully so each seed is planted correctly.
4. Use wooden craft sticks for depth measurement. After consulting the information from the seed packets, help your child use a ruler and mark off the appropriate seed depth on a wooden craft stick. Use the sticks to make holes for the seeds and gently cover with soil.
5. Plant extra seeds. As some plants may not sprout, plant a few extra seeds in each container. This can help prevent some disappointment later on! If too many plants grow, you can thin them out later.
6. Label containers with wooden craft sticks. Reuse those same measuring craft sticks to add helpful labels to keep all of your seeds straight.
7. Use a spray bottle to water. After planting, gently mist with water to dampen the soil without disturbing the seeds. Continue to water daily to keep the soil damp. Another fun job for your budding gardener!
Indoor seeds do best in a warm, sunny location. Cover the containers with your plastic lid or plastic food wrap to hold in the heat. If you are storing your seeds in a cooler environment, a gardening heat mat will help with the germination process.
For most seeds, germination should begin within approximately 7-14 days. Once distinct leaves start to grow, remove any plastic covering.
Depending on the specific plant and your local growing season, you may need to transplant little sprouts to a larger container before planting outside.
Stay tuned for the next part of this Gardening With Kids miniseries on the outdoor planting process!
Have you started your indoor seeds already? If so, what are you planting?