One of the best ways to get outdoors and spend time together as a family is to get involved in some gardening.
With spring fast approaching, many people are looking forward to being able to spend a little more time outdoors with their little ones. One of the best ways to get outdoors and spend time together as a family is to get involved in some gardening.
Deciding What to Plant
Before you start digging up the garden a little research is advised to find out which plants, shrubs and even vegetables you can plant this time of year. Different plants require different weather conditions in order to grow to their full potential and thrive. Most seed packets have general guidelines printed on them regarding the best time of year to plant them. Although your local garden centre will be able to offer advice too!
Planting Flowers in Spring
At present, some of the best flowering plants to consider would be the different varieties of Alyssum, Begonias, Cosmos, Carnations, Dahlias, Geraniums, Lavender, Pansies and Petunias. These are normally available as seeds or in seedling trays and are relatively easy to grow. In most cases, these flower varieties are also quite affordable, making them ideal for gardening with your kids. Your children will be also be thrilled to see these flowers blooming for the first time, as these varieties are known for putting on a colourful show after opening.
Save your egg boxes and pop seeds in them - once the seed is grown pop holes in the base and edges and transplant to an area outdoors or into a pot to grow. Remember to water little and often. They also make fab cress heads - once the cress is grown you can decorate with googly eyes and such.
Selecting your Vegetables
One of the easiest ways to get your children to eat vegetables is to engage them in the process of growing them.
When you first start gardening with kids, it is important to not grow too many different plants at once. Have them get used to tending to a smaller patch first, so that they are not overwhelmed. Vegetables that they can choose to plant at this time of year include aubergines, many varieties of beans, cabbages, a few varieties of carrots, gooseberries, leeks, radishes, peppers, peas and tomatoes. Herbs that can be planted now include basil, lemongrass, chives, sage and tarragon.
If you don't have a big garden fill an old refuse bin with soil and plant some potatoes or carrots - carrots love deep, un-compacted soil and grow straight. You can ‘layer' potatoes in the bin (a tip from my Uncle Eric) so put in some compost, lay and cover your seed potatoes and once they start sprouting cover them over with another layer of soil and another layer of potatoes - you'll soon have a burst of foliage and lots of spuds eventually!
Invest in Child-Sized Tools
It's quite terrifying seeing your two year old weilding a massive spade about to chop their toe off. Thus it is strongly advised to purchase child-sized garden forks, spades and other implements, as this will enable the kids to muck in and garden with ease. Smaller watering cans and wheelbarrows are readily available making gardening with your children more fun than ever. Wellies and a gardening apron are a very good idea too - kneel pads are fab too, more so for grown ups.
And the end result is always such a joy to see - be it blossoming flowers, crooked carrots or the longest beans - have fun.