As the weather starts to improve, we hope, it is time to get out in the garden and begin the tidy up from the winter months and sow new seeds and plants to harvest during the summer months.
It can be fun to get the kids involved. Children are natural gardeners because they are curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt. Gardening also gets them outdoors and gives them a sense of responsibility. Even if you don’t have green fingers yourself you can still encourage your children to enjoy gardening.
Give each child a patch to cultivate
Let each child have their own patch where they can sow seeds. Encourage them to plant bright, colourful flowers and quick-growing vegetables like cress, peas or strawberries to keep them interested. If space is limited, you can use pots which will also help brighten up the area.
By choosing edible vegetables, herbs or berries for your child to sow they may be more inclined to taste them. From simple herbs to top pizzas to more adventurous courgettes or pumpkins, they will enjoy tracking their progress and you can research recipes together that they can use their produce in.
Children will love to see birds, insets and other wildlife visiting the garden. Plants help attract wildlife into the space. Butterflies, bees and ladybirds all help to pollinate flowers and keep pests at bay. Some good examples of plants to attract these insects are Sweet Rocket - Hesperis matronalis; deliciously scented plant that produces white, violet or purple flowers from May to August, Lavender - Lavandula; a familiar garden favourite, producing white, pink, blue or purple aromatic flowers during the summer months. Flowers and foliage can be used for making potpourri and Golden Rod - Solidago ‘Goldenmosa’; a clump-forming border plant that produces feathery, golden flower-heads in late summer and early autumn.
If you wish your garden to be child and wildlife friendly, be sure to hold off on the chemicals and find alternative ways of treating common issues such as greenfly and slugs. Do some research to see what plants repel pests and arrange to plant them alongside each other. For example basil is said to protect tomatoes and garlic protects roses from common pests. Teach your child what plants are edible and which to avoid.
To attract birds hang a bird feeder and fill it with nuts and seeds. Have fun with the children by keeping a note of the different species that arrive. Do some research online or borrow a birdwatching book from the library to help identify the different species. Give your child responsibility for ensuring the feeder remains well stocked.
Encourage your child to help with garden chores. Teach them to recognise weeds from other plants and help dig them out. Get them to help check plants for critters. And on warmer days, water plants. When the time comes, allow them to help harvest the produce. They will enjoy seeing where the food we eat comes from.
Enjoy your garden this Spring and be prepared for a bounty of fresh produce come summer! mykidstime.com have more ideas on making the garden fun, along with recipes for all your fresh produce.