Wednesday, June 18, 2014

sprouting sunflower seeds: part 2

We began our sprouting jars at the end of our week with the plan that we would be able to plant out our seeds the following week. I took the wee jars home over the weekend and when I brought them back on Monday, sure enough, they were ready to plant out!

*potting soil
*small scoops
*half an egg carton per child
*rimmed trays to work on
*spray bottles/misters

Step 1: Before we began, I opened  out our classroom jar and spread out the damp seeds onto a tray. I then sat down with the children and discussed what had happened to our seeds over the weekend and invited the children to investigate.We then compared fresh seeds to our sprouted seeds and listed how they were different on a large sheet of paper.

Step 2: When the children were ready they came over to the planting center and retrieved their jar. The first thing they did was scoop potting soil into their egg carton.

Step 3: Once their cartons were full of soil, they removed the rim and mesh from their jars and either shook or scooped their seeds out and spread them along the top of the potting soil. Many of the children chose to use their hands for this part.

Step 4. When planting sprouted seeds you do not need to cover them in soil. They can rest lightly on top of the soil as their roots are already developed. You do however need the soil to be damp so pass out those spray bottles and let the kiddos go to town!

Step 5. Once their seeds and soil are full saturated, set in a semi sunny place and keep an eye on them so that the soil does not dry out. The children would revisit their seeds throughout the day and spray them with glee. At the end of the day we would pour water into the trays to keep the cartons wet overnight.
Step 6. Sunflower sprouts appear to grow crazy fast! Once they reach about two inches high, they can be planted outside. If you wait too long they will be a bit root bound in the cartons but that is okay as the carton can be planted directly into the ground. While the children chose their perfect spot and dug their perfect holes, the adults in the classroom gently separated the cups in the carton and helped the children plant out their seeds in our play yard. I do not have any photos of this part and sadly we lost most of our sprouts to a crazy record breaking heat wave but we do have three flowers growing in the yard. Before the heat wave came, the children would check the status of their flowers every day. Once the sprouts began failing do to heat and some over watering by our young enthusiastic gardeners we brought that information into the discussion and now the children as about the temperature and ask which plants are okay or not okay. Awesome learning all around!

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