I love gardening-you all probably know that by now! I love to grow my own healthy, tasty food just steps from my back door, and I love that my kids are able to see how food grows and to make the connections between the environment, what we do and what we eat. So you could say I was excited when Seeds of Change and Walmart offered to let me try the new Seeds of Change children’s Garden Starter Kits. We chose the Kids Watermelon Stater Kit.
Of course, Seeds of Change offers all sorts of great heirloom and organic seeds-I especially like that they have so many uncommon varieties! I frequently buy their seed packets. These kits were something new though-they have everything your kids need to get the seeds started-you don’t have to buy a single other thing!
The watermelon kit came with two pots, a water tray to go underneath, the watermelon seeds, enough organic planting mix to fill the pots and an instruction sheet.
Since this was the Kids kit, I drafted Princess to help me out. We got out a tray (to contain the mess) and sat down at the dining room table. She started out by reading the very simple directions.
Following the directions, she added 1/4 cup of water to each pot. Here’s a tip-use warm but not hot water-it will be absorbed more easily by the planting medium. Or, if you’ve got time, open the top of the bag of planting medium, add the water in and then fold over the top and tape or clip it shut overnight. That gives it time to absorb the moisture!
Next she used my sharpie to make 4 planting holes. In gardening parlance the thing you use to make holes is a “dibbler“. . . so if you want to sound fancy you can call it that 😉
We covered the entire thing in a plastic bag to keep the moisture in and put it downstairs in my seed starting rig to get going. Most seeds like it a bit warm to germinate-and they actually don’t require light until they break through the soil-so you might consider putting your seed tray somewhere nice and warm to start with and then move them under lights in a cooler environment once they pop out!
Trust me on this-watermelon+frost=disaster.
The planting instructions on the side of the box were very general-and they stated to give the plant 1foot of space. I happen to know that watermelon is a vining plant and spreads-so that didn’t seem right to me. Perhaps it was a special cultivar with a bush habitat? I had never heard of such a thing but it was possible. I double checked the seed packet and it just said “watermelon”.
Never fear-see right at the bottom there where it says “need help”? Well I called that number and got the voice-mail of the Growing Pro at Seeds of Change. She called me back (and not because I was blogging about the kit-I made sure NOT to mention that in any way-I just wanted to be a regular customer) and we discussed the directions.
Turns out he seed included in the kit is their “Sugar Baby” cultivar. It is indeed a normal vining watermelon and should have more along the lines of a 4 foot square section in the garden. Turns out the directions are printed standard for all the kits. 🙂
Now that my seedlings are up I’ll start hardening them off by bringing them outside for a few hours each day, starting in a more shady area and eventually working them up to spending the full day in the sun. They are like babies at this point, you can’t just toss them out there!
Once we past our last frost date (that’s Memorial Day here folks-again, so jealous of you further south) I will take the seedlings outside on an overcast day or later in the afternoon when then sun isn’t so strong and I’ll dig a hole, toss in a trowel full of compost (melon & squash are particularly heavy feeders), place the seedling inside the hole, fill around it with dirt, pat it in firmly and then water the heck out of it to make sure the soil settles in all around the plant. I’ll take the marker I used for the seedling and stick it into the dirt near the plant and we’ll be living large 🙂