Getting your kids gardening may seem an impossible task, so we’ve put together some tips to help you. Give them a go, it will give your children something to concentrate and focus on. It’s educational and most importantly, gets them out in the sunshine spending quality time with you and away from the television.
Make it fun
- Start small with little experiments, such as potatoes, sunflowers or even mustard and cress.
- You don’t need a big garden or an allotment, window boxes or restricted areas in the garden are just as effective.
- When giving them a section of the garden, make sure it’s a sunny spot to avoid disappointment.
- Plant seeds and see the excitement as the seed begins to sprout and grow.
- No need to spend a fortune at the garden centre; use margarine tubs and yoghurt pots to start the seeds off.
- One good investment may be a spray bottle so they don’t have to lug a heavy watering can around, alternatively to save money, use an old sports drink bottle.
- Make sure whatever your planting you do it outside to avoid unwanted mess.
- Increase their involvement by photographing plants at their different stages.
- Grow vegetables together, to show them the stages involved; planting, growing and cooking.
- Don’t forget the sun cream and sun hats in the summer months.
- If all your encouragement has worked and gardening has become a hobby for your child and the plastic tools are not enough then what about garden tools for children. Scaled-down versions of adult tools are available.
- Gro-bags are an ideal way to get kids gardening. Give them their own gro-bag and a few cherry-tomato plants and watch their interest grow!
- Growing from an avocado stone. Stick three toothpicks in the stone and suspend it over a glass of water so only the bottom point gets wet. Once the root sprouts it can then be planted in soil.
- Grow and eat in a week. Fill a glass or plastic bowl with soaked cotton wool or similar padding and sprinkle with cress seeds (or something similar – pre-soaked beans, wheat grain, alfalfa seeds etc.). Tie a plastic bag around the entire bowl until the seeds sprout in a few days. Remove the bag, snip and eat – great in a sandwich.
- Sweet smell of success. Kids love rubbing leaves for scent and texture, so don’t forget about planting herb seeds. Sage, rosemary, thyme will do nicely. Scented geraniums have a myriad of smells, from chocolate mint to rose and lemon – and are easy to grow from cuttings.
- Greens are good for you! A vegetable garden can be fun. Not only is the experience of planting and watching a thrill, but reaping the harvest and eating and cooking their own produce can create a real feel good factor. That cabbage might not seem so bad after all!
- Environmental awareness. Don’t hold the kids back. Gardening is a therapeutic lifelong hobby – for all the family – and fosters an appreciation of the world around us. It’s something to do together at any age. A healthy and cheap pastime.
- Remember to stake your Sunflowers and feed regularly.
- This is an ideal time to buy things like the Venus flytrap and pitcher plant. Put them in a sunnier spot in the house, not direct sunlight though, and watch them do their stuff! It is a good idea to put the pot on a saucer of moss which must be kept moist to keep the air around it humid.
Get the Right Tools
One way of making gardening instantly enjoyable for children is to kit them out with gardening tools. There are a number of retailers that offer gardening equipment for kids such as gloves, watering cans, trowels and spades. Choose garden tools in fun and bright colours so that they will know the difference between their tools and Mum and Dad’s garden tools.
Choose Plants that are Easy to Grow
To encourage children during their first venture in gardening, it is advisable to choose plants that are easy to grow. This will help beginner gardeners to build their confidence. A few examples of easy to grow plants include tomatoes, lettuces, sunflowers and pansies.
Teach Children how to Grow Food
If you have space in your garden, you may want to add a greenhouse so that children can start to learn about growing their own food. Greenhouses allow you to grow everything from herbs and vegetables and by growing your own food you will be able to teach children the value of money while encouraging healthy eating through growing everything from cucumbers to tomatoes – kids are certain to want to taste their greenhouse creations once they are ripe.