Spring planting is right around the corner (or it’s already here, depending on your location), and whether you are looking to start a garden or simply find a fun family activity, we’ve got you covered! Starting seeds with your kids is so easy, and it’s a great way to introduce them to the wonder of watching seeds turn into plants.
To get started, you will need one or more empty milk containers (we recommend half-gallon cartons, but gallon or quart containers would work as well). You will also need seeds, potting soil, water, plastic wrap, and a medium-size rubber band (optional). In a few family friendly steps, you and your kids will be able to watch your seeds sprout indoors for a window garden or in preparation for outdoor gardening.
What kind of seeds should I use?
If you’re doing this with your kids, letting them choose a few of the items to grow helps them feel more attached to their little sprouts. Flowers like zinnias, petunias, and marigolds are always a good choice as they’re colorful and can be transplanted outdoors or put in hanging pots if desired.
Leaf lettuces are fantastic for growing in gallon jugs in a sunny window. The leaves can be picked as needed for salads and sandwiches.
Herbs are also fun to grow with kids—choose ones that are aromatic or that you’ll use frequently in cooking, like mint, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and oregano. Woody herbs like rosemary are tasty, but they take longer to grow and can be higher maintenance.
Get creative! You can even plant multiple types of plants in the same container to create combinations that are pretty and possibly edible!
How to start your seeds in milk cartons
- Using scissors, carefully cut the Organic Valley milk carton in half, discarding the top portion of the container.
- Using scissors, carefully poke holes in the bottom of the carton for drainage. Place the carton on a plate or tray.
- Using your hands or a trowel, scoop soil into the carton, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the container.
- Moisten the soil by adding small amounts of water, just enough so that the top layer of soil holds together when squeezed.
- Sprinkle your seeds over the soil and gently press them into the top layer of soil to the depth recommended on your seed packets.
- Cover your carton with plastic wrap and place in a warm, sunny location to help your seeds germinate.
- Watch your seeds come to life! After the plants emerge, remove the plastic wrap.
- Caring for your plants: Water every few days, just enough to moisten the soil but not get soggy. Rotate your carton every couple of days for increased sun exposure on all sides.
Show us your creations!
We love to see when you use our cartons for fun crafts. When your plants start to grow, share a photo on Instagram and tag @OrganicValley so we can admire your creation!