Once you get your garden going, it is important to visit it regularly to maintain healthy plants. It may be useful to create a weekly task chart for weeding and watering. However, there are many educational activities to do with your students once your garden is up and running.
How to make seed balls
Seed Balls are a clever way to start a garden or renovate a dull patch of land. Seed balls consist of potting soil, plant seeds, powdered dry clay, and water. The plant seeds can be multiple seeds of one plant or a variety, so long as they all grow well in the season you are planting in. First, you mix 1 ounce of seeds with 7 ounces of soil. Then, add 3 ounces of your clay. When it is all thoroughly combined, slowly add water until the combination turns into a paste that you can form into balls in your hands without falling apart. Let them sit for 24 hours
These balls can be randomly tossed out or strategically placed on your garden depending on your desired effect. Once they are outside in the dirt, they only need a bit of water to get them growing. These are an easy, hands on activity to complete in the classroom on a day when working in the garden is not an option. Also, they will give each student a sense of responsibility to look over their seed ball and encourage its growth.
It is important to remember that placing too many seeds in the mixture can cause overcrowding and impair the seeds’ growth. Also, although each ball has what it needs to grow, the placement of them outdoors can affect its success. Seeds need sunlight to germinate and require maintenance just like any other seeds.
These are also a great gift idea for the students to give to their guardians to take home a piece of their school garden to share with their family.
K-5 Gardening Activities
Follow the Life Cycle of Your Plants
Young kids who have never grown a garden may struggle to recognize the end goal or the importance of patience when growing things. Beginning with the seeds they planted either in the classroom or the garden, walk the students through every step the plant will undergo all the way up until it is ready to be eaten. This will help the students understand where their food comes from and what they have to look forward to.
Many young kids respond well to pictures, so include pictures of the plants, from a sprout to fully mature, so that they know what to look for in the garden and will be able to identify the plants without the garden markers. This activity will also help the kids to connect a healthy diet with the fun and sustainable activity of gardening.
6-8 Gardening Activities
Watch Flowers “Drink” Water
To help students understand the way a plant absorbs water, all you need are some white carnations, cups of water, and food coloring. Have the students place a few drops of food coloring into a glass of water until they have their desired color. Then, place a white carnation in the glass and wait! Check the plants every few hours, or set up a time lapse video to capture the magic. In about 24 hours your carnations will be the color of your food coloring.
This activity is to teach students the process of transpiration within the plant. This will help students to understand how a plant grows after watering the ground where it is planted. This activity can be done with K-5 students but because of the likelihood of spills, it may be best only for the teacher to have the flowers.