Here’s a list of fun ways to grow seeds and plants with your kid. Growing plants and seeds is a great science-based homeschooling project to help kids understand the lifecycle of plants. Plus I share details of a super-useful garden or balcony mini-greenhouse for growing seeds and plants in.
GROWING SEEDS AND PLANTS WITH KIDS
Such excitement! Our recently planted peas, sunflowers, carrots, spinach, radishes, lettuce and beetroots are all growing like crazy in our fab new mini-greenhouse. This is a big achievement for me!
We have grown vegetables before but the greenhouse has allowed us to grow so much more quickly.
You can find out more about the mini-greenhouse by scrolling to the end of the post.
The greenhouse has also provided us with a fabulous opportunity both to compare different seeds and to talk about the conditions in which plants can grow.
My daughter was absolutely convinced her seeds needed soil to grow and was amazed to discover her pea seeds would grow shoots in just some cotton wool and water!!!
She was equally sure that plants couldn’t regrow once you cut their roots off.
So again she was amazed when the mint we’d pulled out of the front garden grew totally NEW roots in a jam jar of water.
These simple experiments got her asking all sorts of questions about how plants grow and the lifecycle from seed to plant to new seed.
And as she was super keen to experiment more I wrote us a list of the different ways plants grow and their lifecycles from seed to plant to new seed. Here is that list, I hope you find it really useful.
different ways seeds and plants grow
- Seeds that germinate well in cotton wool
- Plants that re-root in water
- Vegetable cuttings that will grow again
- Vegetables that sprout to grow new plants
1. HOW TO GERMINATE SEEDS IN COTTON WOOL
Here are the steps you will need to follow to be able to germinate seeds into seedlings in cotton wool and how to plant the seedlings once they’re sprouted.
- Spread some cotton wool over the bottom of a seed-starting tray or the bottom of a jam jar.
- Mist the cotton wool with water until it is damp. Make sure the dampness is even.
- Pull the cotton wool apart slightly to break up the fibres a bit.
- Sprinkle the seeds onto the top of the cotton wool and space them around 1 to 2 inches apart / 2.5cm to 5cm.
- Put the seed tray or jam jar in a bright area, but make sure the light is indirect.
- The temperature around the seeds needs to be around 65F to 70F / 18C / 21C.
- You need to keep the seeds in a moist environment, that is the purpose of the cotton wool. Spray mist the cotton wool daily or whenever it starts to dry out.
- Be careful not to make the cotton wool too wet otherwise it will rot.
- Transplant the seedlings once they have formed roots and got their first leaves. You need to transplant them into 2 to 3 inch / 5 – 7.5cm pots.
- Fill the pots with damp potting soil.
- Separate the cotton wool from the seedlings. You need to do this carefully so that you don’t damage the roots. You can leave some cotton wool around the roots if it looks like you might damage the root by separating it.
- Make a small whole using your little finger or a pencil in the centre of the damp soil in the pot.
- Plant a seedling in the hole, make sure to cover the roots but leave the stem and leaves above the soil line. Push the soil around the seedling to make sure it is secure.
- You need to place your seedlings in bright light during the day for around 12 hours per day. The temperature needs to be around 65F to 70F / 18C to 21C.
- Bring the temperature down to around 55F / 12C at night.
- Keep the seedlings misted with water whenever the top of the soil feels dry.
1A. Seeds that germinate well in cotton wool
The best seeds to grow in cotton wool are the ones that will germinate more easily. This is particularly important if you are growing seeds with kids, as you want to capture kids’ interest as they watch the seeds germinate and grow each day. Here is a list of the best seeds to grow in cotton wool:
- White mustard seeds
- Butter beans
- Mung beans
- Runner beans
- Lima beans
- Broad beans
- Alfa alfa
- Peanuts (removed from their shells)
2. HOW TO RE-ROOT PLANTS IN WATER
Some plants, particularly herbs, will grow new roots in water alone. You just put the stems in a jar of water and keep the jar of water in a warm space without too much direct sunlight.
You can also grow bulbs in water, but it’s a good idea to use small stones or water beads in the water. The stones or beads will support the bulb so it doesn’t get too wet but also give the roots room to move.
You must change the water every three or four days to keep it oxygenated.
2A. PLANTS THAT WILL RE-ROOT IN WATER
3. HOW TO GROW VEGETABLES FROM CUTTINGS
Some vegetable cuttings will re-root and grow again. You will need a slightly different method for each vegetable. I’ve found a great post that lists a whole range of vegetables and how to regrow vegetables from cuttings.
3A. VEGETABLE CUTTINGS THAT WILL GROW AGAIN
- Spring onions
- Carrot tops
4. How to sprout new plants from vegetables
This is a way to see the positive side of all those vegetables that start sprouting before you’ve had a chance to eat them. Instead of throwing them away you can plant them so that they grow new plants.
Here’s a great post on how to grow potatoes from potatoes.
4A. VEGETABLES THAT SPROUT TO GROW NEW PLANTS
- Sweet potatoes
A MINI GREENHOUSE IS A GREAT PLACE TO GROW SEEDS
We have a four-tier greenhouse like this one by Woodside. It has a weather-resistant cover to protect our seeds and plants from rain, frost and the cold. The cover is also great for keeping garden pests off the plants.
We use our mini-greenhouse for growing all our herbs, tomatoes and getting other vegetable plants started.
This four-tier greenhouse by Woodside gets lots of great reviews from happy customers on Amazon, it is easy to assemble and sturdy. You can read all the five-star reviews here.
The big selling-points of the greenhouse:
- VERSATILE – great for small pot plants and growing herbs and vegetables
- SPACE SAVING – Ideal for gardens with limited space and balconies. The dimensions are height: 160cm x width: 70cm x depth: 50cm.
- WEATHER RESISTANT – 135GSM PE woven cover to protect plants and vegetables from the rain, cold, frost and pests.
- EASY ACCESS – Roll up zip panel door is for easy access and ensures that your plants get plenty of ventilation and fresh air.
- STRESS-FREE ASSEMBLY – Simple push together system for stress-free and easy to assemble/dismantle in no time.
The main issue that seems to crop up in customer reviews is that the greenhouse needs to be tethered or weighed down on windy days. This is something we have done with our mini-greenhouse. Just as we have with anything else in our garden that you would expect to withstand big gusts of wind.
The other thing you’ll need to bear in mind before buying is that it will need replacement covers, but these are easily available.