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Annual plants

Annual plants are flowers that only last for one season. Their seeds can be planted indoors early spring or they can be purchased fully grown at your local gardening centre. Several big-box stores also sell them. They are sold both individually and in crates.

 

There are several different kinds of annual plants and they are all very pretty. They embellish our gardens alongside perennials during summer months. They are very easy to grow, as long as you respect their water and sunlight requirements, information that is usually clearly stated on the containers at the time of purchase. Annual plants exist for every area in your yard: sunny, semi-shaded, and shaded. They can be planted in pots, window boxes, planters, or directly in your garden or flowerbeds.

 

Planting annual plants with little ones

  1. Look at pictures of different annual plants in gardening magazines, dictionaries, flyers, etc. Discuss the different shapes, colors, varieties, and flower parts. Have children choose their favorite annual plant.

  2. Ask children which tools and items are needed to plant annual plants (soil, pots, small shovels, flowers, etc.). Draw tiny pictograms representing the various steps involved and stick them on a large piece of cardboard to help children visualize the items the task requires.

  3. Gather the necessary material. Note that you must use quality soil when planting annual plants in flower pots. Purchase a mixture designed for window boxes and planters. If you wish to make your own, combine 2 parts peat moss with 1 part compost and 1 part perlite. You may use any type of container. Light-coloured containers are preferable to avoid excessive drying out of the soil. Make sure there are enough holes in the bottom of the container to allow water to drain out.

  4. Visit a gardening centre with your group. Discuss the responsibilities of the employees. Let each child choose one annual plant. Don't worry about having too many, we always find a place to plant flowers. Purchase annual plants that have buds instead of actual flowers and choose short, stocky plants. These are signs the plants will remain healthy throughout the summer.

  5. Plant your annual plants on a cloudy day or in a shaded area, early in the morning. Spray your annual plants before planting them. The roots mustn't be dry. Fill your container with soil until it is 2/3 full. Add the annual plants, leaving the length of an adult hand between each one. Cover the roots with soil. The surface of the soil must be 2 or 3 cm from the edge of the container to avoid overflowing when watering the plants. Encourage children to exchange plants to ensure each container holds different colors.

  6. Care for your flowers. Children will enjoy watering them throughout the summer. Water the flowers every morning and remove withering flowers to encourage the growth of new ones.

  7. Take pictures of each step and glue them in a small gardening book. Add notes and observations. At the end of the summer, discuss the successes and difficulties you encountered.

Enjoy gardening with your group!

 


Claudine Richard
Early childhood educator


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