Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Growing for Gold!!

These are pictures of veg planting that children from around age three upwards can organise by themselves!! Seeds such as sunflower, peas and beans are very robust and easy to germinate and it doesn't matter how deep or in what multiples they are crammed into pots, they will still find their way to the surface and flourish!  The joy and satisfaction that children get from seeing something they planted completely independently is something else beyond the interest they have in growing vegetables..... it is magical to see.  
I realised this last year when my daughter had a friend round to play.  She scampered up the garden and asked for two plastic drinking cups which I provided without asking what they were for.  Later on, she presented me with a cup full of mud and sunflower seeds, watered to within an inch of their lives!  She had found a packet of seeds and remembered planting them one time so decided to show her friend how to do it.  We kept the cup on the kitchen windowsill and one seed came up, we looked after it then planted it out....... well that little tiny seed ended up nine feet tall, with a stem thicker than my arm and a flower the size of a dinner plate. 
I understood then that it doesn't matter if they plant the whole packet when you only have room to grow on four, or half of the seeds don't come up.  you can always give them away, send them home, or plant some extras in case none come up!!
So this year I gave a quick refresher course in planting seeds and left them to it..... my daughter came to ask me to write 'sun' for her to label the sunflowers.  It was wonderful - the children were busy with their planting for far longer than a planned and tightly controlled 'activity' would have taken them and got far more out of it.  I admit I find it hard to let go of the reins and let things be less than perfect but I am so glad when I do as it means so much more to the children.  Next up..... carrots, onions and lettuce!

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