This week’s theme:
HYDE PARK SOURCE TAKEOVER – Nature Nearest You.
Fact of the day:
Germination is the process by which a plant starts to grow from a seed.
Any seed you have in the house – dried peas or beans, seeds squeezed out of a tomato or inside a pepper from your fridge etc. Spice seeds like coriander or fennel you or a friend may have on the shelf. Or even try lemon or orange pips! Some pieces of mint from the garden or a living packet of mint from the supermarket or some stems of the herb rosemary. Small amount of compost and old yoghurt pots or paper cup. Old clear plastic fruit or a brown plastic mushroom carton. Compost, Scissors, some water to water your seeds at the end.
Our Daily Activities this week have been created by our friends at Hyde Park Source.
Read, or ask somebody to read you This Fact Sheet about seeds and germination.
Planting a seed.
Watch the first half of the video above to guide you.
First prepare your seeds. If you are going to try collecting the seed from the tomatoes or peppers in your fridge, do this a couple of days before you want to plant your seed.
Cut your pepper in half and scoop out the middle core part with all the white seeds attached. Pull just a few of the seeds of this core and place on a plate to dry out for a couple of days. With a tomato, cut just a small slit in the side of cherry tomato and squeeze out the seeds, or with a big tomato cut it in half and scoop out a few seeds which will be covered in wet tomato goo! Try to get less of the goo and more of the seeds if possible but just place your few seeds on a piece of kitchen paper and put on the window sill to dry out for a few days.
When your tomato or pepper seed is nice and dry, about 2 days later, find an old yoghurt pot or paper cup or that type of clear plastic container you can buy strawberries or mushrooms in and reuse it as a growing container.
Fill your container about ¾ full with compost – watch how in the video.
Then sprinkle just a few of your seeds on top of the soil and very gently press your hand down on the seed so it touches the surface of the compost properly. Then sprinkle about 1cm of soil on top of the seeds to just cover them up. Make sure not to bury them too deep!
Try the same method with dried peas or coriander seed in any spare containers you have. Then give the soil a gentle water but for about 10 seconds to properly wet the soil.
Place your container or pot on an indoor windowsill somewhere not too hot but not too cold.
Water your seeds every other day and try to keep the soil/compost nicely moist but not soaked. But do not let them dry out totally either! As the dry seed you planted needs to absorb the water to be able to burst into life.
Peas should start to show green shoots within a week to 10 days and same with the tomatoes. The peppers will take a lot longer to pop though – perhaps 3-4 weeks. Orange and lemon pips are a little bit harder but fun to try anyway to grow a small citrus plant.
When your plant gets bigger after about a month transfer it into a bigger container as it grows.
Good luck growing your seed!
Take a herb cutting to make a brand new plant of your own!
Watch the second half of the video above carefully to guide you in this activity.
Taking a cutting is when we make extra plants from one we already have, and when we get a plant stem or stalk to grow and develop some brand new roots just by placing the cut stem in some soil or water for a while. Most herbs are very good plants to try to make your first cutting with, as they are fast and strong growers.
Get your longish pieces of mint or rosemary which are both lovely smelling herbs you can use in cooking or to make a refreshing herbal tea.
Make sure the bottom of the herb stem has a nice straight cut where you cut it from the bigger plant or trim the very bottom part off with scissors – so you don’t have a ragged rough end.
Carefully take off most of the bottom leaves with your fingers to just leave a few green leaves at the very top of your stem, and so revealing a nice long amount of bare stalk without leaves.
Fill a container like a plant pot, yoghurt pot or a tall paper coffee cup with compost. Remember to make a few small holes in the bottom so the water can drain out.
Take your now half bare herb stems and poke them right down into the compost so that the whole stem is deep in the soil, just leaving the couple of top leaves you left on the top part poking out. Try to poke them around the very edges of your pot/paper cup – you can probably fit about 2-3 cuttings around the edge in one medium pot.
Having the stems pushed down quite deep under the soil is important and will encourage strong new roots to develop out of the bare stem that is now mostly hidden under the soil.
Water your cuttings well and place on an indoor windowsill somewhere cool inside – ie not above a hot radiator!
Keep watered every other day and nice and moist and wait about 3 weeks to see the mint or rosemary start to gradually develop new leaves.
When you see this you know that your new herb cutting has now grown its own root system under that soil, and so become a brand new plant that can be planted back outside in a bigger pot or border to develop into a full size plant over time.
And all from a bit of bare stalk!!
Why not take a photo of you completing today’s daily activities and share it with us? You can share it on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put it online for you!
All photos have been taken by Claire Doble at Hyde Park Source. Thanks Claire!