Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thanks for helping me to grow..-Teacher gift

Last year at the end of the school year my boys gave their teachers flowers. My boys LOVE picking flowers for me and the girls they love. I love that about them!! They do it because it makes them happy. Because it makes the people they give the flowers to smile. Also it gets them a hug and I think they like that a lot. Last year I didn't think of this till two weeks before the end of the school year so I couldn't start it from seed. Around Mother's day Walmart had mini-rose plants in cute wooden pots painted in pretty pastels. So we put a little note on the front like we did with this one. Some of the teachers received flowers in sand pails like this one. My boys loved giving these out. They felt so proud. I don't think their teachers will forget them any time soon.

If you start your seeds now they should just about be ready to start blooming by the end of the school year. These flowers are Dahlias they take 5-10 days to sprout and 49-77 days to bloom. They will get to a full height of 18 inches. Just be sure to look at this info on your seed packet. Some plants will flower sooner and some will take longer.

Isn't this pretty? You can print a border on your child's note that coordinates with the pail. You can add a little extra something and pick up some ribbon at the after Easter sales. Tie a bow on the handle. And yes, my son some times likes to dot his i's with hearts and write "love" as a heart. I love that he did that for his "thank you note".

What you will need:

1. Get some sand pails from the $1 section of your craft store, Michaels, Target or Walmart type store (I only mention specific places because that is where I have seen the $1 buckets)
2. Something to start your seeds in. Like the Jiffy greenhouses with peat pellets. If you already have one then you can get refill pellets. You can use those biodegradable pots and fill them with potting soil. You can also just get a refill pack of the peat pellets like I show above and put them in a container that is at least 4" tall.

3. Seeds of your or your child's choice

4. potting soil

I wanted to show you these peat pellets in case you have not ever used them. You can buy greenhouse kits that come with some or you can buy a refill pack like I have here. Get them in your garden center where they have the seeds. If you don't want to buy the greenhouse you can use a tray that is at least 4" deep and lightly cover the top with plastic wrap to keep the moisture in. I have done this many times and it works well. For some reason I don't always keep my greenhouses around. I will keep them for a while and because I haven't used it in forever, I get rid of it. Next thing you know I will have a need for it. Good thing they are not that expensive.

This is one of those greenhouses. I just removed my tomato plants I bought this for. The pellets for the tomato plants were much larger but the tray still works for the smaller pellets. You just add warm water and wait for the pellets to plump up. These greenhouses also come in sizes that will fit a window sill .

Put 2 to 3 seeds in the center of each pellet. They even have a little hole already in the center. Just pinch the top closed and you are done.....for now.

You will then put the clear lid on and put it somewhere that gets indirect sun light. My kitchen counter near the window works for me. Keep the top on until the seeds have sprouted then remove the lid. Be sure to check them every day or every other day to make sure they don't dry out. Let them dry out a little before you water again (they will turn a lighter brown as they dry out).

When your seedling has sprouted it's second set of leaves and you are seeing the roots come out of the pellet at the bottom it is time to transplant it. I recommend punching holes in the bottom of the bucket. You can use a nail or a drill bit to do this. About 3 holes will do. You just want any excess water to drain out. Now plant your seedling in the bucket just like you would for a pot. Put some potting soil in the bottom, place your plant and fill in around it. This project is something that your children can do. They can start the seeds and monitor them as they grow. It can be a bit of a science lesson as well as making a great gift. Once you have transferred them you can put them out on your patio or an area that does not get intensely hot. The young plants won't be accustomed to full bright sun light and heat when they are first moved outside. For this reason it is best to put them in a sheltered location.

For the final touch give your child a piece of paper cut to the size you want your sign to be. The one in the picture is about 4x6. I wouldn't give them a piece any smaller than that. Have them write something like "Thank you for helping me to grow. Love ...." Since we were making more than one of these I scanned in the note my son wrote (we used a larger piece of paper last year and I just shrunk it to fit on the computer). I added a border and printed them out on photo paper. I have found that photo paper is less likely to bleed when it gets wet. You could also laminate the finished notes before sticking them to the pails. I put the notes through my sticker maker and then placed them on the pails.

If you don't have time to grow these from seeds.....

Just get your sand pails and bring them with you to the garden center. Find plants with pots that will fit inside your pail. I was able to find some that fit perfectly and I didn't need to transplant them. Plants that are out at Mother's day often come in pretty pots and are not overly expensive. Now just have your child write that note, scan it, size it, print it, and stick it on your pot or pail. You are ready to go!


Rebecca here, I absolutely love this idea. I had some extra pellets from the seedlings I started for my garden this year and wasn't sure what to do with them. I had also let my kids pick some flower seeds and wasn't sure where to plant them yet. This will be perfect! I will be starting mine today, and I'll add our finished projects to our flikr group! Cute cute idea, Katrina!


Lucky Mom said...

Super cute idea. It teaches children how plants grow and then they can share the end result! I love it. We are attempting wild flowers right now but I'm not feeling very confident about them. I'll keep you posted via flikr if I have any luck.

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Around here we LOVE flowers. My plants have a hard time keeping up with my flower picking boys in early spring. I get flowers almost daily from my guys. That is why this is so perfect. I thought nothing says Calvin like flowers. Everybody knows he likes to give flowers.