Post by Betty Blair, age 9. Photos and intro by Gabrielle. This post is brought to you by Miracle-Gro.
Betty is a Garden Ambassador at her elementary school. She LOVES working in the garden. She’s learning how to weed, how to compost and make soil, how to clean and take care of her tools, how to plant seeds, and how to water the garden. She’s very excited about gardening and can’t wait to plant flowers in our yard. She especially likes to teach other kids what she is learning.
To help encourage her gardening love, I suggested she write a blog post for fellow kids to teach them a gardening skill. She was delighted by the idea and decided to teach “how to pot a flower to keep on the front porch”. She said, “then the kids can water it themselves, and be responsible for it, and watch it grow.” I thought that sounded wonderful. So here is Betty, with a post created for your kids — or for any brand-new gardener!
Step 1 — You need to choose the right pot. It needs to have a hole in the bottom. This is very important, because if it doesn’t have a hole in the bottom, then the water won’t be able to escape and it will sort-of like drown the roots.
Here’s a pot without a hole (I give it a thumbs down):
There are lots of kinds of pots. The orangish-brown kinds are usual, but they break. I like these metal ones because they don’t break. Plastic ones don’t break either.
Step 2 — Put the potting mix in.
This is a fun part. It’s very messy! Use a trowel (that’s a small hand shovel), or a paper cup, and scoop the soil up and put it in the pot.
Keep doing that until it’s about three-quarters of the way up.
It’s really good to use gloves for this part, because if you don’t, then your hands can get really dirty, and it’s hard to clean the dirt that gets under your fingernails.
Step 3 — Choose your flower.
Take the plant info out, and then slowly and very carefully take the plastic pot off. I like to hold the main plant with one hand, and then squeeze the pot at the bottom with my other hand, and the plant will slide out.
Step 4 — Look at the shape of the rootball. The rootball is the soil and roots of the plant. Then dig a hole in the potting mix that is about the same size as the rootball.
Put the plant in the hole.
Step 5 — Add more potting mix around the sides of the plant.
Pat it down so the soil isn’t loose. Add more soil until the pot is almost full. Leave about 1/2 inch at the top.
Dust off the leaves if they have any soil on them.
Step 6 — Water! This part is the funnest.
You can use a watering can or a cup of water. But don’t use a hose! Because the hose is too powerful and it could spray away all the soil.
Water it gently until you see some water come out of the drainage hole.
Step 7 — Read the plant info.
It will tell you if the plant needs sun or shade. And it will tell you how much water it needs, and how big it will get.
This plant goes up to like 10 inches!
You can memorize what is on the plant info, or you can put it back in the soil so you don’t lose it.
Step 8 — Now it’s planted, but you still need to take care of it if you want it to grow. Check the plant each day. See if it needs water. Move it to a sunny place (if it needs sun). And you also need to feed it. There are different kinds of plant food — there are crystals you mix with water, liquid plant food, and food that you shake on and mix into the soil.
Plant food helps flowers get their biggest. I used potting soil that already has plant food in it. Then I don’t need to worry about feeding the plant for about 6 months. After that, you can buy plant food and use it whenever the flowers need it.
That’s it! I think you’ll love doing this project. My little sister June watched me pot this flower and she couldn’t wait to try it herself. Playing with dirt is just really fun! Another one of my favorite parts about gardening is seeing the plants grow, and I really like watering and feeding the plants and making sure they’re being cared for.
I hope you get to put a pot of flowers on your porch and watch them grow!
Wow, Betty! That was awesome. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned so far. I hope there are lots of kids who get to try it out themselves.
I’m over the moon that Betty is learning and caring for plants at an early age. This is knowledge and these are habits that will serve her for her whole life!
Okay you expert gardeners, your turn. Anything else you would you add to Betty’s info? I’d also love to know if gardening is a part of your life. Do you have a yard that you work in? Or maybe a balcony garden or windowsill garden? And did you garden as a kid? I have lots of gardening memories as a child. Weeding the grapevines and picking fresh mint to garnish Sunday dinner are the first two that come to mind! How about you?