Ready to create a garden with your kids but aren’t sure how to start? This spring is an ideal opportunity. In just a few simple steps, you can get a head start on a garden or some patio plants, even in small spaces.
To start, we will use a technique called wintersowing. Follow along below to get started on your own garden!
What You Need to Create A Garden:
- Gallon milk or water jugs
- Sharp knife
- Duct tape
- Permanent marker
- Potting soil (I like the moisture control varieties available)
- Seeds (marigolds, pansies, nasturtiums, petunias, basil, kale, spinach, and squash are great places to start, but you can look here for more lists)
- Garden trowel or scoop of some kind
- Coffee filter (optional)
- Big tarp or vinyl tablecloth if working indoors (it will make for easy clean up later)
Prep the Jugs
- Cut a line around the jug, under the bottom of the handle, and just above the label, stopping on either side of the handle. The base of the handle will become a hinge so you can open the jug.
- Use the tip of the knife to poke six small drainage holes in the bottom.
- Use your trowel, or a scoop, to place 2-3” of potting soil in the bottom of the jug.
- Place seeds into your soil. Pay attention to recommended height and depth guidelines on the seed packet for the type of seed you’re using. Cover them with a thin layer of soil and pat down.
- Water them a bit to make sure they stay moist until they get rain or snow melt.
- Use duct tape to seal the perimeter you cut open. Pay special attention to any indents on the jug that don’t tape nicely the first time. Try to seal as well as you can to make sure they don’t get soaked or blow away. Remove jug lids so that moisture can come in via the top.
- Use your permanent marker to write the name of the plant on the jug, and on a strip of duct tape, that will go on the bottom of the jug. Be careful not to obscure your drainage holes. With a label on the bottom, it will be protected from the sun. Be sure to make your lines nice and dark and go over them several times.
- Take the jugs outside and find a spot that is protected from big gusts of wind, but will also get plenty of rain and dew. It’s great if you can see them from an inside window.
- After seedlings develop, transfer plants into planters or garden plots once the danger of frost is past.
Even though I usually shoot to put these wintersown jugs out by Valentine’s Day, they can still be done throughout spring to give you a bit of a jump on your garden.
Simple Seed Sprouting
If you don’t want to commit to caring for plants long term, prefer an even less messy option, or want a better way for young children (five and under) to see what is actually happening with the seed, here’s another option that is does not require you to create a garden.
Put a seed into a folded paper towel, mist it with water and place it inside a sandwich bag. Tape the bag to any south-facing window with masking tape along the sides. It’s an easy lesson in what’s going on outside this spring.
With these easy techniques, you can transform any porch or kitchen into a gardener’s workshop. Your children will look forward to seeing their plants grow as well. By summer, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh herbs, flowers, and veggies.
Looking for more ways to have fun with your kids at home? Check out 5 of the Best Crafty Moms on Instagram for more inspiration!