Flats, Cells and Medium
- Describe how to start seeds in a soilless medium
- Identify the equipment needed to start seeds indoors
The domestication of food crops began more than 11,000 years ago in what is now Iran. But the technological advances are younger than that. Artificial lighting, germination mats, and certainly hydroponics have made the process more predictable by offering control over some of the variables. But technology doesn’t change the essence of the process. A seed must be coaxed out of dormancy, under the perfect conditions of temperature, moisture, and sometimes light.
Those early days are a challenge that technology helps to overcome, but there is no replacement for good old-fashioned know-how.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Flats, cell trays, planting medium
- Bowl, water, strainer, paper towels
- Propagation mats
- Soilless medium
- T5 lights
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by explaining the steps of the seed starting process. Highlight the stage when germination takes place. Describe the role that each piece of equipment plays in promoting the process.
Activity (20 minutes)
Gather the Students around the Planting Table with all the materials needed. Prepare two flats (or sets of flats) with cells trays inserted. Fill each cell with the medium. Select the seeds that you’d like to start. Label each flat and place them on the germination mat and turn the lights on for ambient heat. Monitor the sets to see which one germinates first.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What do the germination mats do? How do they help seeds to germinate? Which of the two sets of seeds that we have just sown will germinate first? How long will it take?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you have grown plants from seed before?
- Now that you’ve started seeds in the Lab, do you think you could do this yourself?
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