With the help of Sharona Byrnes, I assisted two classes of 5th grader volunteers in putting together a dozen flats for seed starting yesterday! Then we took the trays to the classrooms to plant winter crops. The kids had so much fun that they wanted to know if I were coming back every week. Here’s a poem I wrote to summarize the day’s learning experience:
We planted seeds to watch them sprout
The Master Gardener helped us out.
We started with seed starting soil and flats
And capillary action mats.
Because water molecules have an attraction
To each other, they cause capillary action.
So taking advantage of this natural phenomenon,
We placed wicking mats with the notch on
The side opposite the one where the mat flopped over
Into the tray below with the water.
We stirred seed starting soil with cottonseed meal
Then poured lots of water into the bucket to feel
The sponge-like clumps when kneaded well:
A mixture which filled each of 40 cells.
Placing one seed in each space with labels announcing
What veggies inside would soon be bouncing
Out of their seed coats, declaring their survival
And Cornerstone School Gardens arrival!
How far the seed needs to go under
The blanket of soil is any wonder
Follow this rule and you can not miss:
How thick is the seed? The depth is this.
We learned some cool things, like how to promote
A parsley seed to burst its seed coat
With boiling water, then a soak overnight
To scarify and set it right.
We wanted to plant watermelons and such
We could not wait; we like them so much
But learned that with seed starting, the plan to uphold
Was to plant hot crops in hot weather, cold ones in cold.
So we planted our broccoli, Swiss chard, and kale
Our lettuces, dill, sage, cilantro without fail.
We planted collards, cauliflower, lavender too.
Artichokes, cabbage, and broccoli rabe for you.
What I wanted to know, but never asked
What the heck is Swiss Chard, please tell me fast!
I need to learn how to cook this weird thing
With foods like these, what does my future bring?
Chamomile tea dilution keeps away fungus
Called damping off which lives among us
And kills my sprouts, doing me no favor
Wherefore then I cant taste the fruits of my labor.
Theres so much to know; so much more to learn
I cant wait, so please Master Gardener, return!
I want to check the greenhouse and find out
What happened in my flat; did my sprouts sprout?