mini gardeners

inspiring gardening projects for children

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Finally cracked it!

growign an avocado plant from a stoneWe’ve never had any success in getting an avocado stone to germinate with that complicated cocktail-stick- suspended-over-a-glass-of-water method.

Several people have assured me it’s nothing to do with my gardening skills (I was beginning to wonder) but that it’s far easier just to sit the stone on top of a pot of compost.  So that’s exactly what we did.  And because it was a bit chilly we popped the pot into the heated propagator which happened to be on because we were germinating some seeds.

A week or so later a neat crack appeared all the way round the stone so we suspected something was happening.  And a few weeks later we lifted the stone off the compost to have a peek, and hey presto, the start of a healthy root system.  It’s now back in the pot of compost and we’re waiting with bated breath for a stem to appear 🙂

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Eco Soil

…. and the “root or shoot first?” experiment.

eco soil

My daughters visited a craft fair recently and returned with an intriguing present for me – a bag of eco soil.

You’re probably picturing in your mind a big, heavy compost-sized bag but it was tiny and contained what looked like lots of miniature yellow beads.  After soaking in water for a few hours we ended up with a mass of soft, water-filled capsules as in the photograph on the left.

The leaflet describes the eco soil as a water and soil substitute for flowers and indoor plants and we love it!  Once we’d managed to stop running our fingers through it (it’s very tactile) we decided to use it for a little experiment with a runner bean seed.  We wondered if the shoot or the root would emerge from the seed first or whether they’d both appear at the same time.

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Acorn “Sink or Swim” Test

acorn sink or swim test

Here’s a handy trick for determining whether acorns are likely to germinate and grow into mighty oak trees:

Throw a handful of acorns into a jar of water, discard the floaters and plant the ones that sink.

In our little experiment just 2 acorns out of 12 sank to the bottom.  In the interests of conducting a proper, controlled scientific experiment we’ll be planting 2 of the floaters as well just to check 🙂

And now for the science:  Acorns are prone to drying out which reduces their ability to grow into seedlings.  Dried acorns have more air inside them and hence are more likely to float.  It’s not a completely foolproof test but worth trying if you were a bit too enthusiastic with the acorn collecting.