It’s Earth Month! How are you celebrating? My little girl and I just did some seed starting together, and it was such a great opportunity to talk about ways we can lessen our impact on the environment. Seed starting is a fun and educational project to do with kids, especially when you use upcycled materials.
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Visit the garden section of your local discount or home improvement store this time of the year, and you’re sure to see a selection of seed starting pots and materials. A great alternative is to use some of your everyday throwaways as seed starting containers. We used Stonyfield® Organic Kids® yogurt multipacks for our upcycled seed starting project. They are just the right size, and as an added bonus – they are made from plants. Cups made from plants have a lower carbon footprint and are better for the environment than petroleum based cups.
After your little ones are done eating their yogurt , don’t throw away the cups! Wash them and save them to be later used as seed starting cells or for craft projects.
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Upcycled Seed Starting Project for Kids (Step by Step)
1. First decide what you want to grow, and purchase your seeds. Instead of a big garden this year, we decided to start seeds for cooking herbs that will go in a small kitchen garden. Also, some lavender. Not all seeds need a head-start indoors, so you’ll want to do a little homework. The information you need can usually be found on the back of the seed packets.
2. Gather your supplies. Wash and dry your yogurt cups. Carefully, use a drill or knife to make a small drainage hole in the bottom of each container. Make your own seed-starting medium or purchase seedling soil from the garden center. I opted for convenience this time and picked up a bag of seedling soil from the garden center. It was reasonably priced and saved me the dirty job of mixing it up myself. You’ll also need a garden trowel. Since my 9-year old would be using it, I picked a small plastic one that worked great.
These seed starting supplies are available online:
Herb Garden Seed Packet Collection (10 packs)
Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 40 Variety Pack
Set of 30 Pack Vegetable & Herb Seeds
3″ Peat Pots Seedling & Herb Seed Starter Pots Kit
Hoffma Seed Starter Soil, 10 Quarts
Fiskars Ergo Trowel
3. Moisten the seedling soil some before placing it into the pots. Have your children fill all the seedling containers with soil. Kids have so much fun with this step!
4. Kids can also place the seeds into the little pots. Some seeds are very small, so younger children may need some assistance. Poke a small hole into each pot, sprinkle in a few seeds and gently fill the hole with soil. Some seeds require deeper planting, so be sure to read the back of the seed packet for directions. If have a variety of seeds, it may be a good idea to label them. Popsicle sticks and a marker work great!
5. Water seeds after planting. Be careful. A stream of water can dislodge seeds. In my experience, children have a tendency to over-water, so we mist using a large spray bottle now.
6. Your seeds need water to germinate, so check daily to make sure the mix stays moist, but not soggy.
7. Most seeds germinate best in warm conditions, so move your seeds to a warm spot. Also, if your air is very dry, you may need to cover with plastic wrap.
8. Germination time varies, so I recommend keeping a seed planting journal so you’ll know when to expect your seeds to sprout. It’s a wondrous moment when that first seedling emerges!
9. Good light is essential to plant growth. When you see the first signs of germination, move the plants to a light-filled area.
10. Once seedlings have grown enough and have true leaves, you can transfer them to a larger pot.
Starting garden plants from seed is a great way to teach your child the joy of gardening. This upcycled seed starting project also gives you the opportunity to teach the importance of lessening our environmental footprint. Upcycling helps to reduce waste.