Monday, May 2, 2011

Hope Boxes

We finally made it to "real" spring! This weekend was absolutely gorgeous in Connecticut. I hope it was where you live, too.

To celebrate turning the page to a new month, our family put mulch down around our flower beds, planted some pansies, moved some perennials to new homes (I am always shuffling things to new homes), and planted cold-weather veggie seeds (radishes, carrots, lettuce). My hot peppers arrived a bit early, but we sneaked them into the ground anyway (hope... hope... hope...).

Speaking of "hope" my youngest son and I began creating "Hope Boxes" that he is placing in his corner of the garden. You really don't need anything special to do this experiment -- it makes use of things you probably have right in your kitchen, today.

What You Need:

  • Anything from your kitchen that has seeds in it (an apple core, a peach pit, seeds from the pulp from a squash...) OR
  • Anything from your kitchen that looks like it has "sprouted" (an old onion, an old potato, a "hairy" carrot...)
  • Something waterproof to plant in (an old margarine tub works fine -- a planter box is pretty. You will need to punch drainage holes in the bottoms of plastic containers)
  • Potting soil or a shovel full of soil from your garden
What You Do:
  •  Have each child build her own "Hope Box." Fill whatever container you are using with potting soil or garden soil.
  • Carefully dig a hole and "plant" your item that you collected (your peach pit or sprouted carrot or whatever). When in doubt, try it out!
  • We like to stick a plant label in the pot with the name of the item and the date we planted it. Some things will sprout quickly, others will be very slow or need to be chilled over winter before they sprout, so dating the label helps us see how long something takes to grow.
  • Place the Hope Box in a part of your garden with full sun (most things that you will plant will need that sun).
  • Make sure that you keep your Hope Box watered (but not soggy), and watch for signs of growth. Don't give up! Some things take time.
  • You can also gather maple samaras (the "helicopter" seeds of maple trees) and other early seeds from the wild to try out, or plant some old veggie seeds that you have laying around.
Get Ready to Observe:

Here is a journal page you can use to record what you observe in pictures and words.

If you prefer to take data, here is a data table that you can use (I am a data table geek...).

Let us know what you tried out!

For more lessons on Science Skills and Key Science Concepts, please see my sidebar.