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Squire’s help children grow seeds from space!

Squire’s Garden Centre in Crawley has helped children from Willow Tree Pre-School embark on a voyage of discovery by growing seeds that have been into space!

“Rocket Man” - Shaun Howell, Plant Manager at Squire’s in Crawley helps children to plant their rocket seeds

“Rocket Man” – Shaun Howell, Plant Manager at Squire’s in Crawley, helps children to plant their rocket seeds

In September 2015, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S where they spent several months in microgravity before returning to Earth in March 2016. The seeds have been sent as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

Squire’s donated pots and compost to Willow Tree Pre-School, who received a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they are growing alongside seeds that haven’t been to space, and they will measure the differences over seven weeks.  The children won’t know which seed packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Shaun Howell, Plant Manager at Squire’s in Crawley commented: “It was great to help the children at Willow Tree Pre-School take part in the Rocket Science project. We donated pots and compost to them, and gave them some gardening advice to help them grow their rocket seeds.  This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching children to think more scientifically, and a great way to encourage them to get into horticulture.”

The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment will enable the children to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive on long-term missions in space, and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.

Rocket Science is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.

Applications to take part in Rocket Science are still open and will close in March next year or until all packs have been allocated. Schools and educational groups can apply at www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening.

Follow the project on Twitter: @RHSSchools #RocketScience

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