Spring Sowing & Planting Tips for your School Garden
1. Seed Tape for Spring Sowing Sowing seeds with young students can often result in the loss of many seeds as their little fingers have trouble handling those tiny seeds. To prevent this from happening again, consider using seed tape to sow seeds with your younger students. While you can buy seed tape, you can also make it with your students which, in our experience, they happen to love doing.
Making Seed Tape Materials:
In small groups of 3-4 have students roll out toilet paper and place the yard stick parallel to the paper.
Instruct them on the spacing between each seed and have them measure out the distance using the yard stick and place a dot where each seed will be placed.
Finally, students will use tweezers to pick up small seeds, dip them into the glue and place them along the roll of toilet paper on the measured dots.
Note: if you have enough parent helpers you can also place a drop of glue on each dot along the paper and simply place the seed on top of that.
2. Young Students, Big Seeds Generally speaking it’s best to have younger students sow seeds that are larger in size (beans, sunflowers, calendula etc) and save the tiny seeds (kale, carrots, leeks etc) for older students with more developed fine motor skills.
3. 4” Pots for Planting Before planting out baby transplants, place 4” pots upside down on the bed you’ll be planting into with the desired spacing between each plant. Have students gather next to the bed and notice the pattern that the pots are placed in. Next, do a demonstration for all kids to see and to ensure understanding, ask if one student would be willing to demo.
4. Measuring Sticks Every school garden should have a class size set of measuring sticks; these handy, and easy to make, tools will help to ensure that when direct sowing in the ground or planting transplants, you end up with plants with the correct spacing between them. Consider using willow or bamboo (or any straight, easy to cut sticks) to make a class set of 6”/12” and/or 18” long sticks. When planting or sowing in the bed, hand the appropriate size stick to each student and, after a planting demo, instruct them to use the sticks to make sure each plant is spaced far enough apart.