Gardening fun for kids

gardenWhat could be better than teaching your child about the wonders of nature and wildlife in your own organic garden? Spending a little time in the sunshine or rain and learning about the growth of produce and the lives of insects, birds and small animals might benefit a youngster for years to come. With the help of products from Agrarian Organics they can also be taught environmental principles and good practices for helping the world around them.

Gardening also teaches discipline; a youngster must work towards tending their plants, fruit or vegetables, and with the right amount of patience will soon have an end product they can eat. You don’t even need a large garden, a simple trough or pot will do, or perhaps even a wall, as these tips for creating a vertical garden from kidsgardening.org show: Learn the basics of how to plant your own green living wall ñ and soon you will be snipping culinary herbs from a hanging herb garden on your railing, plucking snap peas from an edible vegetable wall attached to your fence, or harvesting pole beans grown on your patio arbor.

At the most basic level a child can learn how to grow food from your cupboard and fridge. Seeds will show rapid signs of growth on moist kitchen roll, fruit pips will grow within a week of two in soil, and vegetables will soon sprout when kept on a windowsill with a little water. The formations and leaves growing on carrots and celery will engage a child’s mind throughout the spring and summer.

Taking it further, why not create some spectacular and colourful flowers with your child. Pick a few easy ones to grow such as these selections from Thompson Morgan including nasturtium: Quick growing and colourful! Nasturtiums are easy plants for children to grow. Sow them in borders as ground cover or let them spill out of containers. The large nasturtium seeds can be sown directly into the soil – just wait until after the last frosts. Try some of their edible flowers in a salad or as a pretty garnish.î

Sunflowers are another great choice because you can take pictures of your tot next to them as they grow, from a seed to a plant taller than your child!

Most youngsters love the chance to spend time with their parents or grandparents and will jump at the chance to go weeding, raking, digging or snipping. Teach them the value of recycling water by scooping rainwater into a can, and encourage the composting of clippings.

Take them to the garden centre and show them some planting options, from salads to sweetcorn and apples to tomatoes. Garden centres also sell bird, bat, bee, butterfly and insect homes, ideal for bringing little creatures into the garden and captivating young eyes. Use recycled water to build a little pond and attract water insects and frogs and toads.

With a little instruction from an adult, a child might be able to plan the entire garden, and devise their own timetable of when to plant, water and harvest.

Even those who are not directly interested in gardening will find something to amuse themselves. An artistic child may want to draw or paint flowers and insects or arrange a small rockery, or perhaps build ornaments from recycled materials which would otherwise be discarded.

Your garden is a chance to get close to your child and bond with them while they learn. Buy them a little pair of boots and gloves, perhaps their own trowel and spade, and enjoy some quality time together.