Starting seeds can be a great way to shake the chills of winter and step into spring! Make the spring seed selection a family activity. Much like a scavenger hunt, seed selection and seed starting can be a fun way to explore early garden planting possibilities. Get the conversation started by asking your family about their favorite meals and snacks. Pick seeds that will allow you to grow some of the favorites.
Introduce vegetables that grow well in the cool weather (warm days and cool nights). Common cool weather veggies that are great season starters include beets, lettuce and peas, and of course the brassica family: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kohlrabi. (It is important to read the care labels on the back of the seed packages and plant accordingly.)
Once your family has decided what to plant, it is time to start thinking about seed starting materials. Many seed starting materials can be found around your home. You will need a seed tray. Inexpensive and biodegradable ways to start seeds are in eggs, egg trays or toilet paper rolls. You will also need seed starting mix, a spray bottle, a sunny window and an eager child to water and track the sprout’s progress.
Some tips for having little helpers start seeds: make the experience tactile, involve them in the planting process by having them fill the trays with soil. Inspecting the different shapes of seeds can be fun for children; pick seeds that are bigger (if possible). Most importantly, set up a routine for watering so that the child can be part of caring for and nurturing the plants, while watching them grow!