The seed starting curriculum begins by creating a growing medium and discussing the essentials of light and moisture in germinating seeds. This is where Students begin exploring soil and early plant biology.
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1.1 Seed Needs
The base of any garden operation is the ability to successfully start seeds and that requires a proper medium. This lesson walks students through the recipe for a perfect soilless seed starting medium.
Explore Various Seed Starting Media (Intermediate)
It might seem strange, but seeds do not require soil to germinate. In this lesson, students will experiment with soilless seed starting media.
In Search of a Better Medium (Advanced)
Despite a history nearly 10,000 years in the making, we are still finding better ways to grow food. When a student questioned why we were using the same media every time and suggested he might find something better we made it a challenge for the entire glass.
1.2 What’s Inside?
The Anatomy of a Seed (Beginner)
It’s imperative that students have a firm understanding of the anatomy of a seed. This lesson explores the various parts of the seed and the role each plays in the development process.
Germinate, Dissect, Repeat (Intermediate)
The best way to explore a seed’s anatomy is to sprout one and take it apart. In this lesson, students will do just that to see just how a seed develops into a viable seedling.
With One Hand Tied Behind My Back (Advanced)
Though a seed is often a small compact unit it still contains a concert of working parts each doing it’s specific job. This lesson challenges students to remove a single part to witness how it affects development.
1.3 Will These Grow?
The Basics of Germination Testing (Beginner)
Sometimes seed stock expires for a variety of reason. Being able to test it for germination rates is a vital skill for any farmer. This lesson teaches students how to perform germination tests on seed samples.
Every Seed Matters (Intermediate)
Every seed represents value to the farmer. Low germination rates can spell disaster for that year’s profitability. In this lesson, students will learn to calculate the value of each seed that is started.
Can I Get You a Drink? (Advanced)
Seeds don’t need much to germinate but moisture is imperative. Does it matter what the source of moisture is? In this lesson, students will answer that very question with a little experimentation.
1.4 Infinite Choices
Selecting Which Seeds to Grow (Beginner)
The best thing to grow in your garden is the very fruits and vegetables you enjoy eating the most. This lesson explores seasonal and companion planting based on the favorite varieties of the class.
Favorite Meals Deconstructed (Intermediate)
Little kids often think that pizza grows on trees somewhere. It would be nice but it’s not that simple. In this lesson, students will create an ingredient list for their favorite meals to determine how much can br grown in the garden. That’s the next best thing to a pizza tree!
Next Food Network…Farmer? (Advanced)
The Next Food Network Star has made more than one budding chef famous. But what does it take to grow all the ingredients those chefs use? This lesson makes students the stars behind the scenes, crafting a plan to grow everything a restaurant needs to put its menu together.
1.5 Seed Knowledge
The A,B,Cs of Reading Seed Packets (Beginner)
Seed packets contain a wealth of knowledge that denotes the specific conditions required for optimal growth. In this lesson, students learn to read seed packets to gather the seed starting information they need.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (Intermediate)
Time to embrace their inner artist. This lesson challenges students to create an artistic seed packet that not only highlights the history of the variety but also the essential information required to cultivate it successfully.
Bigger Better Seed Delivery Mechanism (Advanced)
At first thought, it may be challenging to think of a better way to packet and distribute seeds. After all, a little envelope filled with seeds is just about as handy as it gets. This lesson challenges students to design something better.
DIY Seed Packet Design
1.6 A Matter of Degrees
Measuring and Evaluating Soil Temperature (Beginner)
The temperature of the soil is an important factor for optimal plant growth. In this lesson, students learn how to measure soil temp in order to optimize it for seed germination.
It’s Getting Hot in Here (Intermediate)
Microclimates allow plants to flourish when everything around them is being overwhelmed by the conditions. In this lesson, students will learn to identify areas and techniques that produce higher than normal soil temperatures.
Map It Likes It’s Hot! (Advanced)
A good farmer knows his land intimately. In this lesson, students will get to know their land by testing soil temperature in different zones to devise a strategy for managing it through the growing season.
1.7 Flats, Cells, and Medium
Starting Your First Set of Seeds (Beginner)
Good farm planning includes knowing when to start seeds to replace the upcoming harvest. This lesson allows students to develop their seed starting skills by sowing seeds in flats to develop seedlings for future transplant.
Fast Forward the Germination Process (Intermediate)
There are tricks to encourage germination which can mean additional yield in the Lab. This lesson teaches students how to pre-soak seeds to expedite germination and explore the implications.
1.8 Growing UP
The Physiology of the Sprouting Process (Beginner)
Understanding the process that seeds go through as they emerge and develop into young seedlings is the perfect way to watch nature unfold. In this lessons, students will demonstrate their understanding of this process.
Snapshot: Germination Timeline (Intermediate)
Knowing the steps in the germination process is helpful but being able to recognize the stage of development by sight is like having a super power. This lesson asks students to create a visual timeline of the germination process to better understand the states the plant moves through.
The SunSeeker 2000 (Advanced)
Man has attempted to mimic nature for generations. Technology has progressed to a point where mimicking has become harnessing. In this lesson, students will explore the possibilities of a hybrid solar powered system that integrates technology and nature to harvest the sun’s energy.
1.9 Grow Time
It Takes More Than the Seed (Beginner)
The elusive goal for any farmer is to provide optimal conditions in the garden. In this lesson, students will create a rendering that depicts the perfect conditions needed for plant development.
Designing the Dream Garden (Intermediate)
What happens in the garden above the soil is only half the picture. To understand the entire process, this lesson requires students to create a soil profile that includes both the above and below ground elements.
Taking a Peak Underground (Advanced)
It’s amazing to see just how prolific the root structures are in the garden when plants are pulled up each fall. In this lesson, students will recreate that close-up view so they can watch the development happen in real-time.
1.10 Light is Life
Why Seedlings Need Light (Beginner)
Light is a critical input for plant development. In this lesson, students will explore the role and impact that light has on plants during the seed starting process.
Chasing Daylight (Intermediate)
Plants can see light, well, in a manner of speaking. In this lesson, students will explore how photorecptors function allowing plants to “see”.
Light is Light, Right? (Advanced)
Some plants thrive on direct sunlight while others prefer an indirect source. In this lesson, students will seek to prove the value of reflected light and determine which objects in the garden might actually be feeding light to plants via reflection.
1.11 Lights, Camera, Action!
Not all light is created equal. This is certainly true for plant production. In this lesson, students will explore various lighting options and determine which is best for use in the Lab.
Let There Be….the Right Light (Intermediate)
There are different grow lights for purposes. In this lesson, students explore the attributes of different types of lights and test them to determine which is best for use in the Lab.
Lights of the Rainbow (Advanced)
Natural light is comprised of different wavelengths. Some of those wavelengths are preferred by plants more than others. In this lesson, students will experiment with different light sources to prove this themselves.
1.12 Planning for Planting
Planning is one of the most important skills for any farmer. This lesson tasks students with creating a plan for both seasonal and succession planting to maximize the annual yield of the Lab.
Create a 365 Day Plan (Intermediate)
The most expensive piece of dirt is that which is not planted. This lesson explores succession planting and tasks students with creating a succession schedule for the entire year to maximize production.
Will the Real Garden Planner Please Step Up? (Advanced)
Any business requires planning and that includes the ability to effective draft and manage a budget. This lesson tasks students with the creation of an annual budget for the Lab.
1.13 The Many Faces of Seeds
Recognizing Different Types of Seeds (Beginner)
It’s helpful in the Lab to be able to identify seeds by sight. In this lesson, students will practice identifying seed varieties just by looking at the seeds.
A Closer Look at Seeds (Intermediate)
Every seed library has some convention for organization like plant family, common name, or the season they prefer. This lesson requires students to create their own classification standard for the seeds in their seed saving library.
Seed Identification by Sight (Advanced)
A seed catalog is a versatile reference in the Lab. Students will create one for the Seed Library with pictures and a description along with the information vital to successfully cultivating the variety from seed.
1.14 Plant Daycare
Step-by-Step Seedling Care (Beginner)
The transition from seed emergence to young seedling is a very critical time in the development of a plant. In this lesson, students will learn to care for young starts and foster their development.
A Guide to Plant TLC (Intermediate)
Knowledge is power. Don’t reinvent the wheel. These two bits of sage advice shape this lesson. Students will create a seedling care guide filled with best practices that future classes will be able to reference.
Going a Step Further (Advanced)
Edible education should be an continuous pursuit of greater knowledge and that means each class should leave what they can behind for the next one. This lesson transforms the seedling care guide into a database that can be utilized by anyone with access.
1.15 Garden ER
Diagnosing Health Problems in Your Seedlings (Beginner)
Regular plant inspections are imperative for both indoor and outdoor growing spaces. In this lesson, students will learn how to inspect seedlings for early detection of problems and disease.
Be The Problem (Intermediate)
Sometimes you learn more from failure than success. This lesson gives students a chance to fail on purpose to accelerate their learning curve.
Musical Chairs for NPK (Advanced)
Conditions in the garden are in constant flux. Nutrients move through the soil strata becoming available and unavailable as plants develop. In this lesson, Students will experiment with macronutrient deficiencies to observe first-hand the effect each ha on plant development.