Friday, July 9, 2010

Fun Friday: Plant a Tree From Seed

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard.

THE IDEA: Plant a tree from seed

This one came straight from the big explorer himself. While touring my step-mom’s “secret garden” (her name, not mine) just before our trip to Yosemite, the big explorer spotted this cool looking seedpod.

He asked grandma what it was and she explained that it held seeds inside that could be used to plant a new tree. That was all it took to get the big explorer begging to do so. Thankfully, my step-mom obliged.

It’s worth noting here that these seeds didn’t come from just any tree. This is a pink tabebuia (“trumpet tree”), a tree my dad handpicked to be part of his new garden. Not only that, he’d also grown three more of them from seed – one earmarked just for me.

The first step was to remove the seeds from the pod. My step-mom told the big explorer to be very gentle while doing so to ensure that none of the seeds were harmed. He did a great job and was proud to show off his loot.

Next, we grabbed three pots and some soil and let the big explorer place the seeds on top. My step-mom suggested he add three to the first pot, four to the second and five to the last. (Her hope is that at least one of these seeds will survive.)

After adding some soil on top of the seeds – careful so as not to disrupt the carefully placed seeds – it was time to add some water. Why do kids always love this part the most?!

My step-mom gave the big explorer three trays to place beneath the pots and had him add rocks before placing the pots on top. He took care to choose just the right ones, then placed his three creations in the green house. (My step-mom offered to babysit them while we were in Yosemite.)

Here’s what we found when we came to visit the plantings just two weeks later – success!

There’s no way to guarantee your seeds will grow, but the experience of planting them is still a great one for kids. For best results:
  • Make it a science experiment. Kids might get impatient if it takes a while for a seed to grow. Or worse, if nothing grows at all. We made sure to let the big explorer know that it takes a long time and lots of patience for a tree to grow. Thankfully, at 5 ½ years old, he gets that.
  • Plant more seeds than you think you need. It took all the seeds from one pod to create just a few sprouts – and who knows if each of them will survive? Better to error on the side of planting more seeds than less (provided each has the space it needs to grow, of course!).
We had tons of nature fun in Yosemite, but now that I’m back in Los Angeles, I’m struggling to find inspiration. I’m grateful to all the wonderful ideas from fellow bloggers that remind me that nature is always with you – even in the big city! This weekend, why not:
You know the drill – what matters isn’t what you do, but that you head outdoors and do something! Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. It's always great when the seedlings come up. I always have sigh of relief. I'm lucky that my MIL is a fabulous gardener and my husband is pretty good too, and it looks like my boys are shaping up the same way.

  2. @Cat: I was thrilled to see some results - and thank God for my green-thumbed step-mom. Glad to hear your little guys are good in the garden, too!

  3. i love this -- and how exciting that so many of the seeds germinated! Good luck with this project!

  4. @Crystal: Thanks - I'm hopeful we can nurture our seeds into a tree we can someday plant in our own backyard.


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