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03 February 2009 @ 08:34 pm
Has anyone worked with kids in the garden?  
I am a beginner gardener, so bear with me...

I am planning on planting tomato seeds and garlic cloves in pots with 6th graders next week.

I have twelve very small (like about a measuring cup in size) ceramic pots and I was wondering if it would be okay to start tomato plants from seeds in such small pots. If I can avoid buying starts, I want to, because I am very poor.

Also, is it better to grow garlic straight in the ground or start it in pots too? I read that I should put the garlic in the fridge before I plant it to trick it into thinking it's colder. I didn't realize that I probably should have planted the garlic sooner.

I plan on starting a bunch of plants with all different elementary school grades in the upcoming weeks and I would love any tips!!
Current Mood: stressedstressed
albionwood: CoverCropalbionwood on February 4th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
For the tomatoes: Instead of the small pots, try using milk cartons or plastic soda bottles with the bottoms cut off. Set them in trays, fill with seed-starting mix, sow seed. Then when it's time to set them out in the garden you just slide the container off, with minimal root disturbance.

For garlic, see if you can scrounge up some 5-gallon pots. People throw them away all the time. Check with landscapers to see if they wil give you some used ones. Fill them with about 2/3 potting soil and 1/3 composted manure. Plant one clove in the center of each pot. They won't size up the way they would have if planted out last November, but you should still get bulbs.
albionwoodalbionwood on February 4th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Forgot to directly answer your question - it's better to sow garlic directly in the ground. (Preferably in November.) The 5-gallon pot trick is if you don't have ground to sow them into. I did that with extra shallots last year and it worked a treat.
Vicky the Compost Queenvixter on February 5th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
I use my milk cartons sidways
with one side cut off. I can get 6 or 8 starts in there. Later I transplant to 4" pots and even gallon pots if they get ahead of me. You might be able to find pots through freecycle http://www.freecycle.org .

Also keep control of the tools. Don't let each kid get a rake or a spade.
You only need to get a few tools out and make them take turns.

Otherwise you may have a bunch of 4th grade boys sporting "woodies". Yes, that actually happened to me.

I also use newspaper pots for hard to transplant things like carrots, beets and spinach. I'm sure my local newspaper only uses soy inks, so even colored pages are ok. I wouldn't use shiny paper like from magazines or inserts, though.