If you have a “mini-me” hot on your heels in the garden, it’s time to teach them the basics. Even the tiniest tots are fascinated by seeds and what they grow into. Planting seeds with your kids is a teaching opportunity and can be great fun for you both. Pick seeds that are easily propagated and do so quickly. Kids are easily sidetracked and you don’t want them to lose interest. There are many seeds that are easily propagated, so pick some entertaining ones. Choose one seed to grow or several. Maybe mix it up by planting some veggie seeds and some colorful flowers. Here’s our top 5 plants for seed propagation.
1. Beans – Beans are fun to plant and rapidly sprout, plus the seeds are large enough for small hands. For even more appeal, choose a colorful variety like ‘Scarlet Runner’ with its showy blooms and edible pods. The other great thing about planting beans with kids is that a teepee made of bamboo poles will not only act as a support for the clambering beans, but doubles as a hideout for the kids.
2. Radish – Another veggie to grow with the kids sprouts in just a couple of days and is ready to eat between 22 and 32 days from sowing. In addition, it comes in a rainbow of colors from yellow to hot pink to purple and even white. No vegetable grows faster than radishes and their fun colors and variety of shapes keeps kids interested.
3. Sunflower – Sunflowers are also a must! I remember the fascination of seeing my first enormous sunflower as a child. Again, the seeds are large enough for tiny fingers to plant. There are many types of sunflowers, from the monsters seen at the county fair to dwarf varieties like ‘Teddy Bear,’ which only get to a few inches in height. And what child could resist planting teddy bears!
4. Nasturtium – Nasturtiums are sunshiny, cartoony blooms of various shades of red, orange and yellow. They bloom profusely and can be trained up a trellis or allowed to cascade over a pot. There are even short varieties available that only grow a foot or so. Again, the seeds are very large and germinate rapidly and easily. Bonus, you can also eat the flowers!
5. Gourd – Gourds are fun for all ages with their myriad of colors and shapes. Again, gourds have large seeds that sprout quickly. These vining plants will need a trellis or fence nearby to clamber up. Gourds have large, showy blossoms that develop into the fruit from July through fall and make great décor for the Halloween and Thanksgiving seasons. They can also be used for various crafting projects, like birdhouses and canteens.