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Gardening Fun for everyone!

by Lyn Heerema on 2020-06-18T11:31:37-07:00 in Kids/Children | Comments

This week, in my Storytime Short, I read the book The Ugly Vegetables. It’s a great story about how a young girl learns to appreciate the vegetables her mother has grown in their garden.

Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to grow vegetables or herbs right on your windowsill!

First you’ll need a few supplies:

1. Half gallon milk carton

2. Heavy duty tape (duct tape works well)

3. A box cutter or sharp knife

4. Potting soil

5. Seeds (for this project choose smaller plants like lettuce or radishes, or herbs like basil)

6. Marker

Ingredients pictured

Once you have all you your materials gathered you are ready to create your windowsill planter!

First things first: tape the pour spout of the milk carton shut. This stops the dirt you are eventually going to add from spilling out.

Tape and carton

Decide which side you want to be the top and which side you want to be the bottom. On the bottom of the milk carton draw four or five X's, and then use your sharp knife to cut along each X. This will allow the water to drain out of your planter.

Carton and knife

Turn you planter over and cut out a rectangle on the top. Leave a little bit of an edge so that your carton maintains its structural integrity.

Carton cut open

I like to add a little gravel, small stones or even Styrofoam peanuts to the bottom of the planter, this keeps any standing water away from plant roots. Plant roots need oxygen and if your soil stays too wet, the roots will suffocate and rot.

Carton with gravel

Now for the fun part! Time to add your soil. For this project it might be best to purchase a small bag of potting soil. Potting soil is clean dirt and has been especially formulated to encourage the growth of plants. Yard dirt can have bacteria and bugs in it that you probably don’t want to invite into your home or introduce to your plants.

Carton with soil

Your planter is ready! Time to add the seeds.

Seeds in the hand

As you can see, lettuce seeds are teeny tiny. You don’t need to add very many as our planter is also pretty small. Evenly distribute the seeds on top of the dirt, then gently tap them into the soil.

Find a sunny window for your planter, and give the surface soil a gentle soaking of water. Until your plants are bigger water gently every day. You don’t need to soak the whole carton, you just want to encourage the seed to germinate. A spray bottle can come in handy for this kind of gentle watering.

If possible, put your planter outside in the morning in a sunny spot, as the afternoon heat comes on, put them back on their sunny windowsill.

In a week or two you should start to see little sprouts popping up. As the plants get bigger, you can water them a bit more robustly. Just cut back on your watering to once a week or so, and before you know it, you’ll have a little crop of a tasty treat!

Lettuce growing

Check out our YouTube Channel for this week’s Storytime Short, The Ugly Vegetables. You can also check out this list of children’s books about growing things and gardening.

I hope you and your family come to love and appreciate growing things as much as I do. There is something special about putting seeds in soil and - with a little TLC - watching them grow.

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