Gardeners across the United States plant seeds indoors in early spring and are rewarded with flower and vegetable plants for their summer gardens.
Many seeds can be planted inside six weeks before the last frost date. You can find a chart showing the last frost dates for many U.S. and Canadian cities at the Old Farmer's Almanac website.
Planting seeds is a great activity for families to enjoy together. An important life lesson can be taught as seeds grow into viable plants.
Seeds are planted in safe places and are given water and sunlight as they grow. Eventually, they are hardened off by being exposed a little at a time to a harsher environment.
The flowers and vegetables are then planted in the ground. Having been slowly exposed to the less than perfect environment they will face, they are able to withstand cold, heat, wind, rain and other harsh conditions.
This is much like the way most children are raised by their parents. They are protected and nurtured as they grow and are taught many lessons before they are sent forth on their own.
In today's world, many people live for the moment. Children and teens are accustomed to things happening instantly.
From microwave ovens to text messages, today's youth have always lived in a high-tech world where there's rarely waiting involved.
One of the most difficult lessons for parents and mentors to teach children is to delay gratification. Our parents, grandparents and ancestors knew the value of planning for the future.
For the cost of a few flats, some seeds and a bag of planting mix, you can help the children in your life learn more about nature, gardening and life.
There are even kits with the seeds already planted for those who don't have a green thumb. As you watch the seeds grow, you will also be filled with a sense of wonder and awe at nature's way of giving plants everything they need to thrive.
Plant seeds now for rewards later. It's a great metaphor for life and a great way to fill kids with a love of nature as you teach them about delayed gratification.