There’s more to gardening than mud pies – but since plants take a long time to flourish, it can be hard to convince the kids they’re worth investing in.
Enter National Children’s Gardening Week (May 26-June 3), an annual event to help capture imaginations with more instant results. Held at a time when the weather is usually warm, it means kids can plant the popular things and see the fruits of their labours quickly, without worrying about weather damage.
Backed by National Garden Gift Vouchers, National Children’s Gardening Week supports Greenfingers Charity, which creates beautiful gardens to help children in hospices relax.
The event is now an annual festival of fun that’s embraced in homes, schools, and community groups across the country – including Calderdale, where children can get involved in the fun at local garden centres (scroll down to find details).
EASY GARDENING IDEAS FOR KIDS
Heads Gone Wild
What you need:
- Pots or containers
- Grass or cress seeds (or other plants like salad that you want to see grow out of your heads!)
- Multi-purpose compost
- Stickers, glue, pens, or glitter to make faces on your pots
- Draw or paint some faces onto your pot, or glue a photo of you or your friend’s face onto the pot. Make sure your faces don’t have any hair on the top of them.
- Fill your pots with the compost.
- Put the seeds into compost.
- Water the seeds. Be careful not to get water onto the pot faces!
- Make sure the soil stays wet, and watch as crazy green hair grows out of your head. When it’s long enough, try giving it a hair cut!
Write your name in salad
You will need:
- A seed tray (or other pot/container)
- Small bag of multi-purpose compost
- Salad seeds (try rocket seeds and purple basil/lettuce seeds)
- A watering can with a rose (sprinkler) in the spout
- Fill your seed tray(s) or pot/container(s) with compost.
- Lightly press down the compost so it’s firm in the tray.
- Mark out your name in the compost either using sand or by writing your name into it with a stick.
- Sow the rocket seeds along the letters of your name in the compost.
- Next, sow a border around the name using the purple basil or purple lettuce seeds. Leave about 5cm between the letters of your name and the border.
- Sieve or sprinkle fine soil or compost over the seeds. Be gentle so you don’t move the seeds.
- Water your tray using the watering can. Be gentle and make sure the watering can has a rose (sprinkler) in the spout so you don’t wash the seeds out of place.
- Put the seed tray on your windowsill or outside in your garden or balcony. Clip your name as it grows and enjoy eating it!
Make a Darlek or Robot Composter
What you need:
- A compost bin
- Things to decorate your robot (paint, glitter, plant pots and plants, half tennis balls, old CDs, bottles – use your imagination!)
- A clear piece of perspex or a plastic greenhouse panel/pane
- The compost bin will be the body of your robot composter. Decide where you want your robot to be in your garden and put it there.
- Decorate the body of your robot. Go wild! Try sticking things to it to make it as funky as possible
- Make sure that you can still open the top of your robot composter. If you can’t, then you won’t be able to make any compost!
- If you want to see the stuff you put into your robot turning into compost, you can cut a hole in the side of your composter. Cover the hole with a clear piece of perspex to make a window in the robot’s body. A greenhouse pane or panel is ideal for this.
- When you’re done, take a photo of your robot and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org saying who you are and the town you live in. We’d love to see it and maybe share it on our website to the whole country.
- To make compost in your robot, put a mix of live (grass clippings, leaves, weeds, fruit and veg waste) and dead (paper, cardboard, wood shavings or sawdust) into the robot. It will rot down and turn into compost to use in your garden
Plant a herb garden
What you need:
- Compost or a growing bag
- A large pot or another vessel
The Mini-Mumblers loved creating their own herb garden. You can pick up herbs from local supermarkets for very cheap or at local markets or garden centres.
We use an old wheelbarrow but you can turn anything from an old sink to a big pot into your own herb garden.
The kids love to water the herbs and pick them to add to our meals!
If you decide to plant mint ensure you put it in a pot before you plant it so it doesn’t run wild!