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Plant Mini-Course. Part One: Seed Germination. If you are doing a project that involves plants, you will have to successfully pass this mini-course. Follow the directions on the slides that follow and bring in your plants as proof that you were successful. What you need:

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Part One: Seed Germination

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    1. Plant Mini-Course Part One: Seed Germination If you are doing a project that involves plants, you will have to successfully pass this mini-course. Follow the directions on the slides that follow and bring in your plants as proof that you were successful.

    2. What you need: • One empty, plastic pie container with clear top • Container or bowl that pie container can sit on top of. • Sharp scissors • Cooking twine or string • Seed starting mix • Seeds • A large bowl or small bucket • Watering can with rose attachment spray bottle • -Spray bottle

    3. Take a sharp scissors and poke several large-ish holes in the bottom of your plastic pie container. Cut as many 2-foot lengths of string as you have holes. Poke string through holes and pull about 8 inches of string through the bottom of the pie container. Leave strings dangling.

    4. Spread out excess string on the bottom of the pie container. It will look like a pile of spaghetti. In a bowl or bucket, mix your seed-starting medium with water until soil is moist, not wet. Fill pie container with damp seed starting mix, until it is about ½ an inch from the top. It will go right on top of the string pile Gently flatten and pat down the soil

    5. Follow the directions on the back of your seed package carefully. Do not plant seeds deeper than is recommended. 2. Gently pat the soil on top of seeds. 3. Replace plastic cover over the pie container

    6. Fill the bottom container or bowl with warm water, and set the container with your seeds on top of it, so that the strings, hanging down are sitting in the water. That way they will wick up water into your soil, keeping it moist, not wet. You don't want the seed container itself sitting in the water. 2. Check every day to make sure bottom is filled with water. 3. If soil feels dry use a spray bottle to mist until soil is moist.

    7. Hints For Seed Starting:1. Make sure to label your seeds.2. Place seeds in a warm spot until after they have germinated. NOTE: Window sills aren’t warm!3. Remove clear plastic cover after seeds have germinated.4. Keep bottom filled with water -do not let soil dry out 5. Once your seeds have germinated, you are ready to begin Part Two of this mini-course.

    8. Plant Mini-Course Part Two: Growing Plants To get to this point of the course, you had to successfully germinate your seeds. Now that you have seedlings, they have special needs of their own. This part of the course deals with the needs of seedlings. You will need to meet the needs of your seedlings if you want them to grow for your project.

    9. Plants need light to grow, Typically, this lights comes in the form of sunlight. There are two things about the sunlight that are important – the amount of it and the intensity of it. This time of year (fall and winter) that can be a problem. We have shorter days and the sun is at a lower angle in the sky. This means that the sunlight is less intense. If you don’t believe me, try to get a sunburn in October. For your plants to grow, you will need to provide artificial light for your plants and you will need to make sure that the intensity of the light is high enough for plant growth.

    10. Getting the Correct Light Intensity The source of our light is going to be florescent lights. Specifically, you should just use shop lights with regular cool florescent bulbs in them. NOTE: You DO NOT need to buy expensive grow lights. They make absolutely no difference in how your plants will grow. You will use these because they give off a good spectra of light for your plants and they don’t get hot. That last part is really important. Since our florescent bulbs are nowhere near as intense as sunlight (again, if you don’t believe me, try to get a sunburn from florescent lights), you have to have them really close to your seedlings. When I say close, I am talking about having the lights 2 inches above your seedlings. Here is what a shop light looks like: Once you have your light(s), you will Need some way to support them over Your plants. The next slide has some suggestions.

    11. Building a Light Stand There are many ways to build a light stand for your plants. Here are some links with examples and plans: This one uses PVC pipes: This one uses wood: NOTE: These are only suggestions! The main thing is that you need a way to hang your lights above your seedlings and you have to be able to adjust the height of the lights.

    12. Well, there you go! You have successfully germinated seeds and nurtured your seedlings. You are all set for success with your plant project! Hopefully, you feel comfortable germinating seeds and growing plants. If you don’t have your exact experiment decided yet, just look at all of the things that make up this mini-course. There are so many independent variables that you could test. Everything from variables that could affect seed germination rates to how well your plants grow. You could change the type of lighting, the type of soil, the amount of water, things that you add to the water, etc.. The possibilities are endless. This is where your research will come into play.