Children dig into seed sowing this spring

22 March 2024
Our team of expert gardeners lead primary and secondary students through seed sowing sessions, as a part of our Young Marketeers, Know Your Onions and Schools to Market programmes.

During these sessions, which run from March through to May. children and young people learn about the benefits of growing their own food, as they plant seeds in the school garden.

School Food Matters gardener Kathy d’Apice walks us through a seed sowing session.

Sessions begin with a discussion about the importance of growing fruits and vegetables and teaching children about soil properties and plant life cycles. 

Students then examine a variety of seeds through a hand lens and discuss their favourite fruits and vegetables to drum up ideas of what seeds they may like to grow in the future. They also engage their senses as they wonder about their school garden and take in all they see, including the variety of habitats.

Our expert gardeners introduce various herbs and vegetables, like mint, for students to taste and smell, fostering a sensory connection that helps them visualise a connection between seed and plant. 

Next, it's time for students to get their hands dirty. We want to show students that they can create their own vegetable gardens with little resources and space. So our expert gardener leads students through a paper pot-making activity, where students use newspaper, a little bit of compost and simple seeds to make their own micro garden. They also go over easy steps to sowing seeds:

  • Make a hole in the soil that is three times the size of the seed  
  • Gently firm the soil down, but not too hard to avoid compaction  
  • Water the seed immediately after it is sown 
  • Label your plants and record the date so you know what you are growing and when it was sown

"I've learnt that seeds can come in different shapes and sizes, just like us." - Student

Finally, students discuss their role in plant maintenance and aftercare, considering things like:  

  • Who will take ownership of nurturing the plants’ growth? (Our team provides a watering schedule and recommends they select a watering monitor at school).
  • What to do when the plants are ready to be planted in the ground (i.e. when they sprout leaves).

You can find a variety of resources for starting and maintaining school gardens in our resource hub.

"Our students have learnt about farm-to-fork food preparation. Back in February, they had no idea that the tiny seeds they sowed would become tasty tomatoes and cucumbers!" - Teacher

Seed sowing sessions give students a space outside the normal school structure to explore nature and learn about food. This kind of food education encourages students to connect with the outdoors and might even inspire them to become environmental stewards. Our programmes show all students that gardening can be accessible no matter where they live or what their experience level is.