Monday, May 20, 2013

Get those little gardeners ready!

Are you ready to begin planting? You say, you don't have space for a garden... got a windowsill? Kids love this planting project... and love watching things sprout and grow. So let's get to it!

For our first spring gardening project we're going to do something that brings almost immediate gratification to the kids to "see something growing!"

We're going to sprout some sprouts of alfalfa seeds!

Here's what you'll need:
Alfalfa seeds
Clear glass quart jar
A square of cheesecloth that will cover the top of the jar
A strong rubber band that fits the top of the jar tightly

Make the first part of this project an after dinner deal and just before the kids go to bed... the alfalfa seeds need to soak overnight. Have the kids measure out about 3 tablespoons of seeds.

Put the seeds on a baking sheet and show the kids how to "sort seeds"... as you know, any time you cook beans, you need to pick out the less desirable ones... same with alfalfa seeds. Also, there just might be some dirt and small rocks mixed in. This is a great exercise for the kids in math... learning about "measurements"... and following directions and doing things the way they are supposed to be done... "sorting the seeds." And they will love it!

After the seed sorting is done, put the seeds in a strainer and rinse them under running water. Yes, the kids can do this!

Put the rinsed seeds in to the jar and add enough water to cover them. Tell the seeds "good night," letting them soak until the kids get up the next morning.

After breakfast, it's project time! Pour the seeds out of the jar back into the strainer and strain them. Then rinse well with cold water. Place the seeds back in the jar. Cover the top of the jar with the cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.

Turn the jar upside down and kinda shake the seeds around making sure they are pretty dry. If you leave too much water on the seeds, they might rot... however, I'm sure the kids will make sure they are well-drained!

Before bedtime, fill the jar with fresh water (you don't have to remove the cheesecloth) rinsing the seeds again. Turn the jar upside down draining the water off. Again, shake the seeds.

Repeat this procedure every day, morning and night for 4 or 5 days... the kids will magically see tiny green leaves and white shoots appear! They will be thrilled!

The sprouts will be ready to eat within 5 or 6 days... maybe sooner if you live in a warmer climate... where the sprouts are in your kitchen can have an effect on how quickly they grow as well.

So.... happy sprouting... come back soon and I'll have some "sprout recipes" that the kids can actually use what they have grown in a recipe and eat it! What fun!
Gleeful Gardening,
Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach for Kids