Sign up for special offers:

The spring is a great time to open your blinds and shades and let a bit of sunlight in! As the weather gets better in April, May, and June, people start to work on their gardens. You can work on a garden of your own, too! With an adult's help, a bit of work, and scientific skills, you can create a small window garden of plants, flowers, or herbs. To do that, let's learn about how plants work, how seeds germinate, and what a plant needs to grow successfully:

What's Inside a Seed?

When you plant your window garden, you can either buy smaller plants from your local farmers' market, or you can grow your plant from a seed. Many people choose to plant from seeds, as this choice can be cheaper, but how do seeds work? Inside every seed is several key components: the hard shell coating called the testa, the energy or food stores called the endosperm, and the embryo or baby plant. Seeds can wait a long time and remain dormant until they're in the right environment. Then, when the right conditions have been met, they'll start to germinate, or grow.

What is Germination?

After a seed is planted in soft soil and gets all required nutrients, it will start to break up and germinate. Germination is a word that describes the process that happens when a seed begins to grow. The seed will shed its seed coat and grow in two directions. The radical burrows down into the earth to form the roots, and the plumule will go upward and try to find light and energy from the sun. The first small leaves will begin to form at that time too. A tiny, germinated seed can eventually grow into a plant, bush, or even a huge Redwood tree!

What Do Plants Need?

In order to both germinate and survive, plants need a variety of different things. First, they need the right amount of light; too much light for one plant might be too little for others. They need water in the right amount, as well (not too much or too little). The need space to grow, time, carbon dioxide (which is in the air), and key nutrients, which come from the soil.

Why is Soil Important?

Typically, thin or dry soil, like in the desert, doesn't produce many plants. Thick, dark, rich soil, which has lots of organic material, often does much better. We as humans are often blind to how important the soil is. As you find the seeds you want to use, you should take time to find the right dirt. For some, that means using compost created from a compost pile. For others, that means buying the right fertilizers. There are thirteen key nutrients that plants take in from their roots. Some of the most important ones are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Planning Tips for Your Window Garden

If you want your seeds to germinate and grow, you'll want to find ones that will do well in your space. Be sure you choose a window of your house that has enough sunlight. Herbs are a popular for windowsill gardens, as they don't take up too much space and can be used in cooking. Basil does very well, so long as you have sunlight. If you have a deeper pot for you windowsill and more nutrient-rich soil, you can also plant carrots, radishes, and other root vegetables. For those who love flowers, several choices are available, from marigolds to pansies. Vines, such as sweet potato vines, look very lovely from outside as well.

Ideas for the Classroom

Do you have an empty, sunny window at your school? Teachers can also have a lot of fun with window gardens too. Plants offer us a real-world opportunity to study science and see real growth from our efforts. Check out some of these projects and classroom activities:

Article written by Lexi Westingate

Related Articles

Door Blinds - How to Measure for French Door or Traditional Door Blinds
Door blinds can be any blind or shade mounted as a door mount blind. French door blinds or traditional door blinds are simply outside mount blinds or shades with hold downs to keep them from swinging as the door opens or shuts. People commonly mount blinds in a door at their home or office. Popular blinds that are used on doors range from faux wood, wood, cellular shades and roller shades. When measuring for french door blinds there are several things to consider.... more

Corner Window Blinds
If two windows meet in the corner and privacy is a concern, the best way to install window blinds or shades is to overlap them (see figure). One blind will be the measurement from the wall to the window. The second blind will be the measurement from the wall to where the second blind will be. This measurement will be from the wall to the window subtracting the width of the blinds. For a 2 inch wood blind, that will be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches.... more

Measure Window Shades or Blinds for Tile or Moulding
Occasionally obstructions can get in the way of window shades or blinds such as wood moulding or a tile back splash. Cut-outs can be made in the blind or shade for proper clearance in these areas. There is a surcharge for each cut made.... more

How to Measure Vertical Blinds for Sliding Glass Doors
When measuring window blinds for sliding glass doors it is important that you measure the blind to fit as on OUTSIDE mount. Vertical blinds are a common window treatment for sliders. More times than not there is not enough depth in a window to mount vertical blinds inside the window frame. Often there is Moulding encasing the window and your measurement must allow for it. A common rule of thumb is to ADD 2 inches to the length of the vertical blind. In other words measure from the floor to 2 inches above the moulding. If you have no moulding measure from the floor to 2 inches above the top of the opening.... more

Blinds for Angled Top Windows
Blinds or shades can be difficult to find for angled top windows. A few manufacturers make window blinds or shades with angled headrails for this purpose. Another option is to leave the angled top of the window open and just mount the window blinds or shades with the headrail just before the angled portion of the window. This article will discuss how to the the later.... more

2" and 2 1/2" Horizontal Window Blinds Installation Instructions
When installing horizontal window blinds, the same process can be used when installing all types of horizontal blinds. This page will cover basic installation of our 2 and 2 1/2" blinds.... more

Parts for Installing Horizontal Window Blinds
Below is a list of parts that are used when installing horizontal blinds. Note: You may not receive all the parts listed. You may also receive additional parts that are not needed. We will only send you the horizontal blinds parts for your particular application.... more

Mini Blinds - Instructions for Installation of 1" Aluminum Mini Blinds
1/2 inch micro and 1 or 2 inch aluminum mini blinds installation instructions. This page explains basic installation for aluminum blinds which is similar to installing horizontal wood blinds. Here are some simple steps for installing mini blinds.... more

Vertical Window Blinds Installation Instructions
To install vertical window blinds, please read completely the instructions below before beginning the installation process.... more

Vertical Blinds - Parts for Installing
Below is a list of parts that are used when installing vertical blinds. Note: You may not receive all the vertical blinds parts listed. We will send you the parts you need to install your vertical blinds.... more

Back to Top