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3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
United States


Washington Youth Garden

Bringing Spring Indoors!

April Martin

The Early Childhood classes at Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School (MMBDA) are “Digging In” to a gardening and food tasting adventure! Starting last November, MMBDA’s School Garden Coordinator, Bethany, began teaching once-weekly gardening lessons to Bethune’s eight pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes. Throughout November and December, early childhood students learned about the vital role insect and animal pollinators play in the growth and reproduction of many of the fruits and vegetables we eat at home and in school. The children had so much fun singing songs, reading books, and making arts and crafts related to pollination and pollinators in their weekly gardening classes!


Right now, MMBDA’s early childhood classes are bringing a bit of spring to the chilly winter days by blooming flower bulbs indoors (also known as “forcing” bulbs). Over the last few weeks, the children have been thrilled by watching their Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs go from dormancy to full-bloom - right in their very own classrooms! The joy and enchantment on the faces of these proud “bulb mommies” and “bulb daddies” is so heart-warming, even on the coldest of winter days!  

Scroll down to see instructions for how to force your own bulbs to bloom indoors!





By the way, forcing flower bulbs is a fun, easy indoor gardening activity you can do at home. Just follow the instructions below to enjoy the sweet, springtime scent of your very own flower garden indoors this winter. Enjoy!

Forcing Bulbs to Bloom Indoors

Paper White Narcissus bulbs (many types of bulbs can be forced, but Paperwhite bulbs are among the easiest)

One jar, cup, or other clear container (without drainage holes) per bulb



  1. Place pebbles into container, approximately 2-3 in. deep, and nestle root area (rounded end) of bulb into pebbles.image
  2. Place more pebbles up to the “shoulders” of the bulb to secure it in place. image
  3. Add just enough water to touch the bottom of the bulb. Place bulb in a warm (60-65 degrees is ideal), sunny location and keep consistently moist, being careful not to over-water. image

Bulbs will bloom in about 4 weeks.