Help kids learn by growing a windowsill garden

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, April 1, 2012

(ARA) – A child’s awe while watching a seed germinate and grow into a healthy plant with beautiful flowers or a delicious vegetable is something very special. Their sense of accomplishment expands when the flowers they grew are arranged in a beautiful bouquet or their vegetables are shared in a family dinner.

This accomplishment illustrates how windowsill gardens encourage learning from plants at home.

With an indoor container garden, children can watch the tiny seeds they tenderly planted germinate and grow into much larger plants. Make the experience educational by encouraging your children to journal how much water is needed to keep the plants healthy, how fast the plants grow and even when new leaves or flower buds appear. They will be surprised by the growth process happening every day.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Spring is the perfect time to get involved in growing – no need to wait until summer to start planting. The Miracle-Gro Kids Windowsill Greenhouse kit, available in Flower and Vegetable Garden varieties, includes everything for children to start planting immediately. The kit provides an optimal environment for indoor seed starting, and the greenhouse environment helps the seedlings grow strong until ready to transplant.

Once seedlings are large enough for transplanting, children can use these simple tips to find their green thumbs and keep their gardens growing strong:

* Containers – All sizes and shapes of containers can become new homes for seedlings once they’re too large for the greenhouse. Whether placed in a sunny area indoors or out, any clean container with drainage at the bottom will work. Consider using colorful buckets, painted clay pots, old chipped porcelain or ceramics from the kitchen – even an old tool box can add a bit of creativity to the garden. Go vertical with pocket gardens and hanging baskets.

* Soil – Quality soil is a must to help plants grow big and strong. Fill containers with Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, and gently pat down so soil is loose, allowing roots to grow and spread easily. Be sure to keep soil moist by watering frequently. Smaller containers dry out easily and may need to be watered more.

* Light – Container and windowsill gardens tend to grow better with southern exposure, where the light is the strongest. Remind children to rotate the pots to encourage plants to grow straight, rather than bending toward the light coming in the window. Think about placing container gardens on window ledges, front stoops, balconies or back patios – any warm, sunny area where children can watch them grow.

* Labels – Put craft time to good use in making labels for each container. Provide children with photos of the plant for them to draw on the labels or tags to stick into the soil for easy identification. Children might even want to name their plants or containers. Let the creativity run free.

If the containers are growing flowers, once blossoming, harvest the blooms and encourage your child create a beautiful arrangement to decorate your home for admiring friends. Teach your child how to press or dry the blooms and create cherished art. Photography is another great way to preserve the memories. Photos make great keepsakes and, tucked into a journal, serve as excellent reminders of what your child planted and can grow in his garden again next year.

If your children planted vegetables, help them find a fun recipe or two that incorporate their produce. Get kids involved in making dinner by cleaning the vegetables for chopping, and stirring into the stew, sauce or salsa. When the dinner bell rings, your child will be proud to serve the meal they grew – right there in your home. Visit for delicious kid-friendly recipes.

Promote life learning and a green thumb for your children and watch their knowledge and pride grow alongside the flowers and vegetables that are started from seed. It will be an exciting project that can last for weeks and months on end.