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Gardening with Kids: Fun with Cress

Children love to watch seeds grow, and even better if the seeds they are growing are scattered in the shape of their name AND they can eat them! Here’s a simple gardening with kids project, Fun With Cress, that can be grown at any time of the year – all you need is a light windowsill.

What you will need

  • Cress seeds
  • Watering can or spray bottle
  • A container – margarine tubs, mushroom container – anything that will hold your seeds
  • Compost, kitchen roll or cotton wool

What to do

  1. Place your compost, cotton wool or kitchen roll on the bottom of the container and soak with water.
  2. Shake some seeds into your (or your child’s) hand and carefully shape them into the desired initial or shape (beware as they are easily scattered!)
  3. Place the container on a windowsill, preferably where the child can see them.  Make sure the compost, cotton wool or kitchen roll is kept wet as the seeds won’t grow if they’re allowed to dry out.
  4. In just a week’s time, when the cress has reached about 5cm, it will be ready to eat! (Tastes delicious in a sandwich with egg or cheese.)

Older children might like to try growing the seeds in more than one container at the same time, with say compost in one and cotton wool in another so that they can compare the results.

Day 1 Day 3 Day 9

Some of the things you can talk about are:

  • How the seeds all bend as they reach to the light. If you turn the tray they will bend back.
  • If the seeds are sown too thickly they might not grow as big as they will all be fighting for space and light.
  • If they forget to water them they will become limp (just as we do!)
  • If two experiments were carried out, do the seeds that were grown in the compost look healthier or bigger than those in the kitchen paper or cotton wool (more nutrients compared to no nutrients)?

Have fun and tell us how you get on with your own cress seeds!

Dee from Greenside Up helps individuals and families to grow their own food in the Carlow/Kilkenny area running workshops and through her work with community gardens and gardening with intellectually disabled adults. For more information on Greenside Up’s services, take a look at her website.

You might also enjoy: growing carrots and growing potatoes.

Have you tried growing cress with the kids? Tell us how you got on in the comments below.

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