Gardening with Children

School Zone

What to do this Term

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Grow 'Sprouting Seeds'

     in the Classroom

 

For young gardeners it can seem like forever watching your crops grow and waiting for the day when you can pick and eat them, if you want to grow a crop that you can eat within a week why not try sprouting seeds, this is an easy class activity that you can do throughout the year and you won’t get cold or wet or need gloves or wellies. 

There are many types of seeds that can be sprouted each with their own flavour and texture: 

Alfalfa – crispy and crunchy (pictured above)

Chickpeas – nutty, mild

Mung beans (Chinese Bean Sprouts) – crunchy, mild

Lentils – nutty, peppery

Adzuki beans – nutty, sweet

Peas – tender, sweet

 

GETTING STARTED

What you will need

  • Empty clean jam jars (one per pupil)
  • A length of net fabric (clean old net curtains would do)
  • Elastic bands
  • A selection of sprouting seeds – buy seeds sold specifically for sprouting, have a look in health food stores they may sell bigger packs which are more economical, avoid using seeds for sowing outdoors as they may have been treated  with chemicals to aid germination.

What you need to do

Cut out squares of net large enough to cover and overlap the top of the jam jar so that they can be secured with an elastic band.

Add one/two heaped tablespoons of seed to each clean jam jar (don’t add more than this as once sprouted they can grow up to 30 times their original size).

Half fill the jam jar with tepid water, cover with the net and secure with the elastic band, leave to soak for minimum of eight hours for small seeds and up to 24 hours for larger seeds or beans (soaking the seeds wakes them up ready for germination), place your jam jar in a warm dark cupboard.

After soaking tip the jar upside-down to completely drain off the water, keeping your hand loosely over the net just in case the elastic band breaks, after draining tap the net to dislodge any seeds that may have become attached, return your jam jar to the warm dark cupboard to start germinating.

Rinse your seeds twice a day, first thing in the morning and before you go home in the afternoon, each time fill the jar with water, swirl the seeds around gently and drain off the water as above then return to the cupboard. 

Keep the net cover on at all times this will prevent the seeds from drying out and reduce the risk of contamination from airborne mould.

Your sprouts will be ready to eat when they are 1-5cm long depending on the type of seed, use the picture on the seed packet as a guide, you can bring them into the light a day or two before eating so that they can green up which improves their flavour. 

Why not grow different types of sprouting seeds so that the children can taste them and pick their favourite.

 

SEE HOW QUICK THEY GROW

 

Day 1

 

Day 2 (After soaking overnight)

 

Day 3

 

Day 4

 

Day 5

 

Day 6 - Ready to eat!

 

 

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