Every year we plant flowers on our balcony with E. who loves spring and the revival of nature (and her coming birthday too).
Usually I buy some plants at the flower market and we plant them together, like last year or the year before. Last year we also tried to plant carrots, tomatoes, and ruccola. Well, apart from the tomato it wasn’t a successful year (we had 8-10 cherry tomatoes in September), but we’d started plating really late, at the beginning of May.
To attune the girls to the revival of nature and planting I collected some youtube videos for them, mainly songs. Here are their favourite ones (that they learnt by heart within 2 days):
The Planting Song
Parts of a plant
How plants grow
However, this year I was all prepared. I bought these cute plant nurseries at the Flying Tiger Shop and some seeds in one of the big supermarkets. (We collected some seeds from our balcony flowers, too, 2 years ago and I accidentally found the envelopes.) One of the ladies at the market who I get on really well with gave some spring onion bulbs to E. to plant.
We had a 4-day long weekend due to our national holiday, 15 March and we used one of the days to do the planting.
I put down and old wax table cloth on the floor and fixed it with painter’s tape. Then prepared all the necessary ingredients:
- dirt (in another word soil)
- seeds (this year we planted radishes, gurkins*, carrots, basil, tomato, poppies, and snapdragons.)
- spoons (next year a really need to purchase some kid-size gardening tools)
- plant nursery
Before starting the planting procedure I showed them the parts of a flower cards and they put them in the right order: root, stem, leaves and flower. E. placed the word cards next to them. (The link above will take you to the site where you can download your own copy if you wish.)
The girls scooped the dirt in the little holes. L. was making the sound of a digger while doing it. And for her that was it all. She lost interest in planting very quickly. She went to her little kitchen and cooked some food for Daddy.
But E. was really enthusiastic about it. She told me which seed to plant first , she opened the packets and envelopes that hid the seeds. She observed the seeds carefully noticing their different shapes, sizes and colours. (It was quite fascinating to see that the tomato seeds were blue and the poppy seeds were really tiny.)
She also wrote the name of the plants on a wooden stick so we’ll know later on which sprout is which plant.
E. made holes in the dirt with her index finger and dropped the seeds, next covered them with some more dirt. When we finished with all of them she watered them lightly.
E. enjoyed it some much and was so excited about the planting that she was staring at the plant nursery nearly all afternoon. She was talking to them and wanted to water them more. This gave us an opportunity to talk about that giving the plant too much water or sunshine does no good.
The next day our radish and gurkin sprouted and E. saw a gurkin loop in the dirt. She started to call them Loopy and ran to find her Ikea plush gurkin/cucumber.
After a few days I offered her to draw what happens to the plant in a plant diary. She wanted to draw only the radish and the gurkin although every seed had started to sprout by this time. She measured them and drew how they changed size and colour, how they grew.
The next phase was to put them into bigger pots. Unfortunately we waited too long and planted the seeds too close to each other so we had a hard time to separate them. It might happen that they won’t survive as both the roots and the stems were rather weak. The radishes went to the balcony in a long pot, the gurkins were planted into bigger round pots with 2 wooden sticks and a string between them to provide support for the future vines.
Still E. is talking to them kindly and taking care of them with great care. Whoever comes to us has to have a look at the plants. Her plant diary is coming along really nicely. Soon we need to replace the other plants into bigger pots (we ran out of soil).
Stay tuned, there’s more to come, hopefully you can see beautiful flowers and tasty veggies.
*I found 2 ways of writing gurkin/gherkin. The latter is more common but I used the first version in this post. When I asked E. if she could spell it, she spellt it gurkin 🙂