Soon spring will be in full swing! The days are getting longer, temperatures are rising and soon farmers and gardeners will be planting seeds in hopes that vigorous plants will lead to an abundant crop. The Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom’s Garden in a Glove activity can provide first “hand” experience in the process of growing plants that offer us food, fuel, and fiber.
- Clear plastic gloves
- Permanent markers
- Cotton balls
- Paper plates
- Five different types of seeds
Seed combination ideas
- Seeds to show the different parts of a plant we eat:
Root – radish, beet, leaf – lettuce, stem – asparagus, celery, flower – broccoli, fruit – tomato
- Herb seeds:
Basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, mint, etc.
- Vine crops (you will need lots of space to grow these plants):
Pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, melons
- Three Sisters crops:
corn (sweet corn, popcorn and/or field corn), squash (butternut and acorn), beans
- Label each finger of a clear, plastic glove with a different type of seed (see Materials list for seed suggestions).
- Dip five cotton balls in water. Give each cotton ball 3 flat squeezes to wring out excess water.
- Place 3-5 seeds on a small paper plate or paper towel and pick up with a moistened cotton ball.
- Put the cotton ball, with the seeds attached, into the matching labeled finger in your glove.
* Tip: You may need to use a pencil to get the cotton ball all the way to the tips of the glove fingers. Also, for large seeds like pumpkins, use only two seeds.
- Repeat the seed pick-up and depositing in the glove with the additional cotton balls and seeds.
- Tape the glove to a window or wall. A clothesline can also be used with clothespins holding the gloves on the line.
- Depending on what seeds are used, germination (sprouting) will take place in 3-5 days. The cotton balls should stay moist through germination. If one or more appear dry you can add a little water with an eyedropper or spray bottle.
- Germinated seeds can be transplanted in 1-2 weeks. Cut the bottom of each finger and pull out the germinated seeds (cotton ball and all), and transplant into a container with soil.
- What do farmers have to provide in order to get seeds to grow into the plants that provide animals and humans food?
- Water – from rain or irrigation
- Air – plants need to breathe in order to grow
- Light – the bright summer sun provides solar energy for the plant
- Soil – once the plant is growing it needs nutrients (minerals, vitamins from the soil)
- What kinds of resources are needed to get the seed to grow and provide food?
- Natural resources – water, sun, soil
- Capital resources – tractors, planters, irrigation methods, harvesters (combines) etc.
- Human resources – farmers, plant scientists
- What do you need to give the seeds so they will germinate?
- Water, air, light
Soil is not necessary to get the seed to germinate but once the seed gets past germination and starts to grow it will need nutrients from the soil.
For a complete Garden in a Glove lesson plan and background information click here .
For further information about the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom program visit www.mda.state.mn.us/maitc or contact Al Withers, Program Director at email@example.com or Sue Knott, Education Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.