Hooray! You have a Growums® Garden Kit! Three cheers to you for encouraging the young sprouts in your life to grow their own vegetables and herbs! When we show kids how fun it is to grow (and eat) their own healthy food, everyone wins!

Carin and friends

In addition to being a cheerful carrot, I’m also a member of Duke the Cuke’s Produce Posse! Here, Captain Eggplant and I are helping Duke spread the word on the importance of growing healthy food and stopping dastardly eating habits!

Photo Credit: Belle Peppa

Got my kit

My friend Dani is growing her first Growums Garden this year. (Grow, Dani! Grow!)

Photo Credit: Carin the Carrot

Adding water

Dani couldn’t believe how quickly the pellets started to expand. (She used three cups of warm water. How many will you need?)

Photo Credit: Carin the Carrot

Planting seeds

Planting the seeds was fun, too. (“These pellets are squishy!” Dani reported.)

Photo Credit: Carin the Carrot

Labeling pellets

Make sure you add the correct plant tag to each planted pellet, so you know which plants are growing. (And which ones might need extra seeds later.)

Photo Credit: Carin the Carrot

Being the happy carrot and residing Growums cheerleader that I am, I’ve seen a lot of awesome garden victories nationwide. Now I’m going to “root” you and your little sprouts on to growing a winning garden of your very own!

If you and your kids or grandchildren have already registered a garden kit on Growums.com, you may have already seen our neat “Getting Started” videos. If you haven’t registered yet, please do! (It’s free!) When you register, you’ll have access to our short animated videos that introduce kids to our fun cast of Growums characters and show them how to care for their real-life gardens every step of the way.

Even though these videos are cheerfully fun for kids and adults alike, sometimes grownups like a little extra info on the sidelines – especially if their children ask any questions. So let’s start with the “Getting Started” basics: checking out what’s inside each kit, expanding the pellets and planting the seeds. (Ready? Let’s Grow!)

What’s Inside Each Kit

You can’t win the gardening game without the proper growing gear! Each Growums Garden Kit comes with everything you and your child need to start your food garden: four different seed packets, eight “magical” seed-starting pellets and eight Growums character plant tags. (Eventually you’ll need more garden equipment for your winning team of plants – like fertilizer and a trowel – but in this stage of the game, your Growums are just warming up!)

If you have one of our tray-style kits, the bottom of it serves as a handy watering tray. If you have one of our tub-style kits, you’ll need a shallow dish to hold your pellets. No matter what type of tray or dish you use, it’s important that it can hold about 20-30 ounces of water. (Hey, we’ve got to keep those seeds hydrated if we’re going to win this gardening game! Whoo hoo!)

In addition to your basic kit equipment, you’ll also need at least 2 glasses of warm water. And if you’re the kind of grownup who likes to take pictures, get your camera ready, too. Taking pictures is a fun way to document your child’s gardening adventures and to look back at the end of the season and see how far you’ve grown!

Expanding the Pellets

This is one of my favorite garden warm-up exercises before the big game: pellet stretching! (It’s super easy, and kids think it’s really cool!) This pellet warm-up only lasts for about a minute – if that – so have your camera on and ready if you want to capture your child’s reaction.

Have your little sprout place one pellet in each hole of the garden kit tray, or put all eight of them in a circle inside a shallow dish. Make sure that the dimple/hole of each pellet is facing upward, because that’s where the seeds need to go. Give your child a glass or cup of warm water, and ask him/her to guess what will happen when the water reaches the pellets. After all predictions have been made, grab your camera and have your child gently pour the water into the center of the tray or into the dish. As the water reaches the pellets, they’ll start to stretch and expand within seconds! If they don’t, just add more water until they do. (You can even try pouring water on top of the pellets.) Keep adding water until the pellets have stopped absorbing it and are finished expanding.

When your pellet-stretching exercises are over, make sure there’s still a tiny pool of water left in the center of your tray basin or at the bottom of your dish. This way, the pellets can drink more water whenever they get thirsty – that’s very important because seeds need to stay moist so they can sprout into plants!

Now, some grownups wonder if kids can overwater the pellets. Don’t worry: Those things are like mini sponges – and you can’t “over-wet” a sponge! As long as you keep a little water in your tray or dish at all times, your pellets will be fine. When the water’s gone, just add more. (Remember: A well-hydrated growing team is a healthy growing team! Hooray!)

Planting the Seeds

Okay, we’ve reached the first major play of the gardening game: Once your pellets are expanded, it’s time to plant the seeds inside them! (It’s a simple move, but one that will take you to growing victory!)

With eight pellets and four packets of seeds, you and your little gardener can have two pellets for each type of plant in your kit. The trick is to open the seed packets slowly and carefully – seeds can be crazy-tiny (especially for lettuce and some herbs). Some grownups pour a few seeds into their hand for their children to pick up. Others shake out a few onto a damp paper towel or even onto the lid of the garden kit. However you decide to do it, remember that you only need 3 seeds per pellet, so you don’t need to dump out the entire packet. (It’s best to leave extra seeds in the packet anyway, in case you need more later.)

Have your child push three seeds into one expanded pellet, about a fingernail deep. If your pellets have expanded with a fingernail-deep hole already in the middle, your child can just drop the seeds straight into the hole and leave them alone. (How easy is that?!) After the seeds have been planted in the first pellet, use the same seeds from your open packet to plant a second one. Use the correct plant tags that came in your kit to identify what type of seed you just planted, then move on to your next packet of seeds and repeat the planting process. When you’re finished, you’ll have two planted pellets for each type of plant seed. (Yippee!)

After all your pellets have been planted, stick your packets of leftover seed in a sandwich baggie and keep them someplace safe, cool and dry. If your planted seed don’t sprout for some reason, you can use this leftover seed to plant more. (Never give up or forfeit the gardening game! There’s always time for an early season comeback!)

Your last “Getting Started” step is to place your tray or dish of planted pellets next to a sunny window. (That’s really important because even though the seeds are buried inside the pellets, they still need warm temperatures to sprout into plants.) Remind your little gardener to check on the pellets every day and to add more water to the tray/dish whenever it’s gone dry. Before you know it, you’ll have tiny green sprouts popping up to say hello! When that happens, just keep your pellets in their sunny spot and keep adding water to the dish. Ten days from now you’ll be ready to move into the first main stage of the gardening game! (Gooooo Growums!)