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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Keeping Children Busy In The Garden

Cress heads planted in eggs shells

I wondered if you might like a some gardening ideas. A few things to keep the kids busy. I have been looking through my archives and remembered some years ago there was a wonderful winning garden at both Chelsea and Hampton Court. The Dorset Cereal Garden based on a school yard.

The school yard

A white board denotes watering rotas and the raised bed where packed with runner beans on poles, sunflowers and lots of brassicas to eat. Hanging baskets of tomatoes and strawberries. Beds of sensory herbs.such as thyme, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm and oregano.

Farm to fork projects are great for kids but usually fall down when the main harvest falls in the summer holidays. This is not a problem in your own back garden.

Easy To Grow Veg
At home in your own garden space plant some spuds on Good Friday. Digging them up will be like finding buried treasure. Broad bean go in early, that’s right now and give you a quick result and you can plant the seed direct so this will make it to the plate sooner than most crops. That’s peas, broad beans, cut and come again lettuce, garlic (a little late in but still plant it), onions and shallots definitely to get on with now they are so easy. 

Sets of onion and shallot bulbs are place above ground with their roots pressed into the soil. Keep the dog off the bed! I would recommend rainbow chard and spinach, oh and beetroot all easy successful crops! Don’t plant everything at once. No one wants 200 lettuces on one day. You go back and plant another row every few weeks.

You can seed root crops now but you need loose sandy soil to get a good straight crop of carrots rather than a funny shape and I if you can plant them high, perhaps in stacked tyres like we sometimes do with spuds to protect from low flying carrot fly. Brassica will be hard. They get eaten, even more so if you are next to a field of oil seed rape! This is why we put nets over them.

If you don’t have any ground to plant in lots can be grown in pots. I would start with something like lettuce and later some runner beans growing up canes.

It’s much too early to plant out some things. They will catch the frost but when

the weather warms up go mad with runner beans and French beans and build wigwam stuctures for them to grow up. Bean dens! In late may you can put out your cucurbits that courgettes, pumpkins, squash and marrow along with your tomato plants, sweet peppers and chili peppers all of which can be seeded indoors on window ledges ready for planting.

One quick note veg plants are generally quick vigorous hungry plant. Dig some compost or FYM into your soil first. Dig it over and mix it all in. Make sure the plants have got light and water and they will probably need feeding.

Modern day WiFi kids attached to usb cables have forgotten the simple joy of watching seeds emerge and fruits form. This could be seen as a great opportunity.

Random Activity Ideas For Children and Adults! 

Bug Hotel

We don’t just grow in the garden. We get to support the wild life. Bug hotels are hugely popular and involve a lot of bits and pieces usually found lying about in most gardens

Identifying the many different types of bees. Some strange children like to collect woodlice under pots as pets! Mine had a spider as a pet once which probably quiet cruel and maybe not a good idea.

Feeding and identifying the birds. Chris Packham told us to learn about the birds. Learn their names, their call and what they eat
.The RSPB are running identification projects and advocate feeding your garden birds. Bird Feed

When I was little we always used to make miniature gardens on a plate for the annual village show, using bits of grit, twigs and moss.

Some villages round here have scarecrow competitions but why wait it could be good creative fun making a scarecrow for a new veg patch.

Largest marrow or a marrowthon is a healthy completion. Or it could be heaviest pumpkin.It will need lots of tending.

Growing some flowers for indoors like sweetpeas, which can go in now or making a little cut flower bed from which you can harvest.

Or try tallest sunflower in need of daily watering and tending.
I am sure once you get thinking about growing you will come up with lots more ideas.

From my archives a few old picture of what the kids made a Malvern show! It might give you some ideas.

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