Teaching kids about where their food comes from is a great activity, and you might just learn something yourself as you watch your seeds germinate and become towering plants. Or not-so-towering, as the case may be.
One really easy plant to get started is the sunflower, all cheery and fun to watch. Here’s a good site for reference: http://kidsinthegarden.co.uk/plants-for-kids/how-to-grow-your-own-sunflowers-with-your-kids/, and we’re reposting some basic directions for ya:
“From March onwards you can sow the seedlings at a depth of 2.5mm indoors in small containers filled with seed or multipurpose compost. Cover with a small polythene bag. Place on a warm windowsill inside and then harden them off outside in a sheltered position. When they have at least 4 leaves transplant them into your border once frost is no longer a danger, usually from mid- May onwards.” We’re past that stage now, but tuck away the info for next spring.
Right now you’re looking at direct sowing.
“If you do not want to move seedlings then you can sow them in a sunny prepared flower bed when the soil is warm, usually from mid-April at 1cm depth (see seed packet for spacing) though watch out early in the season that your seedlings don’t become a tasty meal for the slugs. Make a second sowing about 2 weeks later to extend the flowering season.”
And there’s sowing outside in large pots. If you grow them in your garden, here are some tips: “All sunflowers like to be grown in a place that gets full sun. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. When placing plants it is worth remembering that the buds follow the sun from east to west, but once they open, they usually face east. The French name for sunflower is ‘Tourne-a-sol’ meaning–turn to the sun. Tall sunflowers also work well grown against a sunny wall.”
Some cool sunflower facts can be found at http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/plants/sunflowers.html