Let’s plant pretty flowers!

This is a great time of year to encourage kids to learn more about plants and how they can beautify our outdoors. There is just something so special about getting your hands into some dirt! It’s very therapeutic for me! So here’s a crash course on making an awesome pot of flowers. 😉 First decide where you can put a pot of flowers. Check to see if its mostly sunny or mostly shaded there for the bigger part of the day. You can buy a pot for your flowers or look around your house and see what you already have that might work. I chose a galvanized metal tub that we had that adds a nice country look to our flowerbed. You’ll need a bag of dirt or potting soil to fill the container 3/4’s full.

Once you know if your spot is shady or sunny, then you’ll know what type of plants to buy. My tub will be in a sunny spot so I bought plants that love the sun. Don’t worry if you don’t know which plants like shade and which ones like sun because most places that sell plants will have tags in each pot that tell you which kind it is. If you don’t see any tags, ask the person working in the store. Most people are glad to help you find what you need.

It’s nice to have plants that have different colors of flowers and grow to different heights. Again, that information is on the tags. I wanted to have a red, white & blue theme so I found red and blue Petunias and white Calibrachoa. I like to add some plants that just offer greenery but have different shaped foliage and vine out so I also bought a Dracaena Spike, an Asparagus Fern and a Vinca Vine.

Spike and Petunia
Petunia and Vinca Vine
Calibrachoa and Asparagus Fern

The size of your pot will determine how many plants you have room for. My pot is quite large so I had room for 6-7 plants. First, I planted the Spike in the center of the pot.

Then I planted the white Calibrachoa just off to the right a little in front of the Spike. Calibrachoa come in so many beautiful colors and they are fairly easy to keep blooming if you are careful to keep them watered.

To the left of the Calibrachoa, I planted the red Petunia.

On the other side of the Calibrachoa, I planted the Asparagus Fern.

Then back to the left side of the red Petunia, I placed the Vinca Vine. As it grows, it will send vines out over the side of the tub which gives the pot a nice look.

Then last, but not least, I had room for 2 blue Petunias in the space that was left.

Ta Dah! You did it! You now have a beautiful planter to add some color to your out-of-doors area. Don’t forget to water the pot well after you have it settled in its new place. Don’t worry if it looks like you have a bit too much room between the plants because they will fill it in as they grow throughout the summer. I made 4 tubs like this and they are sitting along our split rail fence in front of our house. I’m adding some small American flags for a lovely patriotic area. Kids will enjoy this project especially if they are involved in it from picking out the plants, to planting, and finally sitting the finished pot out for all to enjoy. 🙂 Have fun!

Spring is for Planting Seeds!

It’s finally Spring! Once the sunny, warmer days begin to show up, our thoughts go to watching for new things to start growing outside…the spring flowers pop through the ground and bloom, our grass turns green and dandelions pop up everywhere! Yes! I love getting back to growing plants and planting flowers and veggies! It’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids about planting seeds and watching the little shoots peek through the soil and gradually grow into a big plant with flowers or yummy things to eat! There are lots of ways to grow plants and today I’ll share just a couple ideas with you. You can get started with just a few items.

The first way I’ll show you is super simple! All you need is a packet of seeds and some seed starting pellets, found in any store that sells home and garden items.

I found this style at a Rural King store and it really doesn’t get any easier than this. It’s as simple as it shows on the box…put the pellets in warm water, let them soak a few minutes, add the seeds and set them in a sunny spot. 🙂 If you think you don’t have a green thumb, you really should try these and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Here’s the flower seeds we’re using for our examples.

So, let’s get started! Lay some old newspapers on your table or counter top to make cleanup easy for any bits of dirt, seed or water that may escape. 😉 Grab your seed starting pellets and put them in a container that will hold water. Add some warm water and watch them swell up in just a few minutes. It’s pretty cool to watch!

Ready for seeds

After the pellets have swollen up to around 1 1/2″ – 2″ and they feel soft inside, drop 2 seeds on the top and gently cover them with just a little bit of the dirt inside. Some seeds are super tiny so be careful not to add too many seeds to one pellet.

Notice I used 2 different types of flower seeds. The ones on the left are Bachelor Buttons and the ones on the right are Zinnias.

These are ready to be set in a sunny place! It depends on the type of seed you plant how long it will be before they begin to grow or germinate. The Bachelor Buttons take 10-14 days and the Zinnias take 6-10 days. You can find this information on the back of the seed packet along with other information like how far apart to plant them after they grow, whether they are an annual or perennial, how tall they will grow, etc. It will be a good lesson in patience while you check each day to see if they have appeared yet. 😉 Keep the dirt moist but don’t make them soggy!

Now onto the second way of starting some seeds! Did you notice the egg carton with egg shells in it and the potting soil in the first picture? Yep, that’s what we’re using for this example. Save up some halves of egg shells until you have enough for the number of plants you want to start. I scooped some potting soil into a small bowl and because it was really dry, I added a little bit of water to it. After stirring the water and soil together, I spooned some into each egg shell half.

This time I used the Viola seeds because they are one of my favorite flowers! They look like miniature pansies and their colors are just so pretty! Again, add just 2 seeds to each egg shell half, cover with a bit of the potting soil and pack down ever so lightly.

The Viola seeds are very tiny! See the 2 light brown seeds in the center? That’s them! 🙂 They’re all ready to set in a warm sunny window. Keep the dirt moist but don’t add too much water at a time since any extra water can’t drain away. When the plants are big enough to be planted into a larger container, just crack the shell some so the roots have room to keep growing.

Now, just in case you aren’t really into growing flowers or your kids would like to grow something they can eat, here is one more example of something fun to grow. I used the same seed starting pellets as before but this time I added Cherry Tomato seeds.

Cherry Tomatoes grow well in containers, so you can grow these even if you live in the city and don’t have room for a garden. They like lots of sun and would do great on a patio. This type takes 7-10 days to germinate and around 65 days until you and the kids will have 1″ little red tomatoes to eat that you grew yourselves! 🙂 And that makes them taste even yummier! 🙂 Have fun while you introduce your kids to the joy of growing things!