Seed mats with the children

We decided to make seed mats two weeks ago. I like this activity as it works for a group of children of different ages. Like the seed necklaces, we usually do it at our mid-summer parties.

seed mat 1

To start with we mixed a batch of flour and water to make a glue. It needs to be the consistancy of paint.

seed mat 2

Then we used a paint brush to make patterns on a paper kitchen towel with the flour and water glue.  AJ decided to do her initials…..

seed mat 3

….TF went for the all over dotty approach.

seed mat 4

Next they sprinkled a mixture of lettuce, spinach and basil seeds onto the glue. They understood to do it thinly, so their plants would not be crowded.

seed mat 5

Once all the seeds were spread, we put a second piece of kitchen paper towel over the top, so that the seeds were sandwiched together. We then left them to dry. These can be stored away for later use or given as presents. We have always planted them within days, so I don’t know how long they would last.

seed mat 7
BL putting her seed mat in the tray

Next we laid each sandwich sheet on top of a tray of compost and sprinkled a thin layer of compost on top, so that the paper was no longer visible. We watered all over the tray and then placed the trays in a warm place.

Children sowing
Children sowing

This week the seeds started to sprout. As it is a mixture of seeds, the sprouting time will probably be different for each type. The children were very excited. I did not label the trays. We hope that the sprouted patterns will tell us.

Starting to appear

At first they counted every seedling as it emerged. There was great excitement when a new one was spotted. I hope they will enjoy the contrast of the three types of seedlings. We talked about how the seedlings push out through the earth with a bent over head and then straighten out, looking for the sun.

Last year we transferred the mats to deeper trays and had them in the greenhouse. We planted at mid-summer and were still enjoying lettuce at the end of October.

Each year they watch my trays of seeds turn into seedlings, but they are always excited by the changes. To be honest, so am I!

I’m linking this to The Magic Onions “Friday Nature Table“. It really is worth heading over there to see the other contributions for the Nature Table.

8 thoughts on “Seed mats with the children

  • Friday 2 April, 2010 at 11:35 pm
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    That’s a TERRIFIC project! We don’t use paper towels here, so I’m working out in my head what we could use (toilet paper? Perhaps the paper napkins that come with our next take-out order?), and then we are totally going to do this!

    • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 12:08 am
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      The only time I use paper towels is for this activity. I bought a set of two rolls, a couple of years ago and still have one roll untouched. (Probably helps that I mislaid it and had to borrow some sheets from a friend, this year!) I did contemplate using sacking or something else with a loose weave. The only problem I could see was the holes may not be big enough for the fully grown plant. It may rot in time to allow a bit more room. I keep meaning to experiment.

      Thanks for leaving a comment and please let me know how you get on.

  • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 12:03 am
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    A great idea, cheers Marie

    • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 12:33 am
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      Thanks. They need little encouragement when paintbrushes, glue and seeds are concerned.

  • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 1:14 am
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    such a fantastic idea! Love gardening with my babies!

    • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 1:55 am
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      Thanks. I’m glad you like it. Children are so keen to roll up their sleeves and get dug in with gardening. Of course they don’t always remember to literally roll up their sleeves…..

  • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 5:13 pm
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    we have been gardening for years, and this is such a unique idea (to me). we are definitly going to do this Easter morn…thank you and have a glorious spring. It is very cold here on the Washington Pacific coast, but spring is coming, I’m sure!!

    • Saturday 3 April, 2010 at 10:46 pm
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      I’ve not met a child yet who doesn’t enjoy this activity. I hope your seeds sprout successfully. I’d love to know how you get on. We’ve made seed mats earlier in the year than usual and the lower temperature has delayed them getting going.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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