Gardening 101, Produce

Starting Seeds in Pots

Got my seeds! Ready to plant in the ground….do be do be do……what do you mean I can’t plant before the average frost? But this packet says I need to plant these 4 weeks before that. So what do you recommend I do?

Well, let me tell you, when you go into that feed store and ask for starter pots you are going to get a ton of choices. Do you want small, medium, large, plastic, decomposable pots, domes, bag of potting soil, heat mats, and grow lights? Then you reconsider the price so you Pinterest DIY and it said you could use eggs, egg cartons, old cans, jars, baby food, heck just throw a potato in a trash can and it’s like magic.

All of this is possible. No one is really wrong, it’s more about how you do it. So here is a basic breakdown of the necessities:

  • Light- 6-8 hours for seedlings. 8-10 hours as they get bigger. This can be natural southern sun in the window or lamp/grow lights.
  • Container with drainage- plastic flats, decomposable pots, eggs, cartons, cans, all fine as long as there is a hole at the bottom for excess water drainage. You don’t want to drown your seeds or cause mold to grow. The size depends on how long and large the plant will be in there to grow. You can always transplant to a larger container later. NOTE: If you are growing vegetables and use eggs there could be pathogens passed so eggs should be bleached clean before use.
  • Water- your soil needs to stay moist (not soaking). A dome over a flat helps keep the moisture in so you don’t have to water as often. Using a spray bottle is best to prevent drowning the seeds. Some even water from the bottom tray and let the water soak up through the pots. If you forget a day and the pot drys completely you can lose the plant.
  • Heat- veggie seeds do not like the cold. Some people get heat pads to improve germination which do really work, but it doesn’t mean you have to get one (they are not cheap.) Keep the seeds in your home or in a heated greenhouse at an average temperature between 60-80.
  • Soil- the magic stuff. Get some potting soil as it has things in it to hold moisture to help with drying out and it’s free of weed seeds. Your dirt outside can sometimes work but unless you have done a soil test to know what nutrients it’s lacking it may not be enough. You will also be bringing in weed seeds that can compete with your babies.

There are the 5 things to focus on. From here you can Pinterest and DIY to whatever your heart desires, just be sure to achieve the above standards for success.

Activities

Helping Preschoolers Develop Hobbies

Author: Maria Cannon

Preschool is an exciting time. For the first time, your baby is out having his or her first experiences of independence. Your child is developing their own interests and experimenting with those interests. It is the perfect opportunity to start introducing new hobbies to encourage learning and help them build self-confidence as they explore and accomplish.

Music Lessons

Music has so many helpful benefits. In fact, some studies suggest that music can even relieve pain. As far as your preschooler is concerned, listening to music and learning to play an instrument is great for brain development. Music teaches children how to be creative while also refining their math skills, so both side A and side B of the brain benefit.

To get your child interested in music lessons, look for a local school that specializes in teaching children. These institutes often offer introductory classes for preschool-age children where they can touch and experience different instruments and determine which ones they would like to learn. Start with a smaller, entry-level version of their chosen instrument and work toward investing in a better model as your child becomes more serious about this hobby.

Backyard Astronomy

If your family lives in an area unaffected by light pollution, take advantage of your unique position and introduce your child to the exciting world of backyard astrology. Learning about the stars at a young age helps your child grasp the infinite nature of the universe and all its possibilities. Exploring the constellations and other astronomical elements develops a sense of direction and enables complex problem-solving.

To gauge your child’s interest in astronomy, plan a trip to your local planetarium or introduce them to Neil deGrasse Tyson. A telescope isn’t necessary, but it can be helpful and motivating. Before you invest in an expensive piece of equipment, get an accurate read on your child’s interest with these hands-on astronomy activities.

Rock Collecting and Geocaching

Rocks get a bad rap. Sure, on the scale from animal to vegetable to mineral, rocks are the only one that you can’t really eat… but that doesn’t make them boring. Children, in particular, are good when it comes to appreciating our earth’s minerals and what makes them beautiful and unique.

Two great ways to tap into your child’s inner geologist:

Art Classes

If your child comes home from preschool with doodles all over their work, help them channel their creativity with art lessons that give them the skills they need to create the way they’ve always dreamed. Art lessons for kids vary from simple drawing introductory courses to more advanced painting classes. Try signing your child up for a variety of lessons so they can experiment with different mediums while learning how to express themselves.

Science Experiments

Is your child an intellectual explorer? Encourage their interest in STEM subjects by orchestrating various science experiments you can do in the comfort of your own home. There are a plethora of kids’ science experiment ideas online — just look at this Rainbow Magic Milk Experiment. Using whole milk, dish soap and food coloring, your child can learn about chemical reactions while also playing with pretty colors.

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As your child enters preschool, their newfound independence encourages them to develop new interests. Help encourage this process by introducing fun and educational hobbies. Music lessons encourage brain development while stimulating both their creative and practical sides. Backyard astronomy helps little kids discover just how big the universe actually is. Rock collecting and geocaching is a hobby for children whose feet are firmly planted on the ground. Art classes help creative children learn to channel their energy and talent. Finally, a fun science experiment is always a good idea for preschool-age children.