Right now is the perfect time to plant some seeds with your young ones. It is so rewarding for children to see how plants grow, however, they can quickly become disheartened if things don’t go to plan, so it is important that they have a good first garden experience. Here are some fun and easy activities to do with them that should hopefully inspire budding gardeners!
Cress Egg Heads
Cress is one of the easiest plants to grow and takes up such a small space on a windowsill. It grows so quickly that it can be eaten almost the next week, making it a great introduction to gardening!
- Eggshell, top carefully removed so it remains mainly intact
- Cotton wool
- Cress seeds
It’s quite nice to get your kids to decorate the eggs and it’s easier if you do this beforehand! Wet a couple of cotton wool balls and place them in the egg, making sure to leave about 2cm from the top of the container. Sprinkle the seeds onto the cotton wool and press gently. Place on a warm windowsill with plenty of light. Check each day for signs of sprouting, and add more water if the cotton feels dry. After about two weeks the cress should be ready for harvest, and tastes delicious as an egg and cress sandwich!
Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow and they tower over children very quickly!
- sunflower seeds
- Plant pots
Unless you are willing to sacrifice some window space for seedlings, plant your sunflower seeds in May when there is no chance of frost. Fill a small 10cm plant pot with compost and plant one seed into each pot. Cover the pot with more compost and leave in a sunny place to germinate. Water them once a day so they don’t dry out. You should see sprouts after 2 weeks, and when the plants are about 30cm tall, they are ready to be placed in large pots with full sunlight.
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If you want to plant straight into the ground, choose a position in full sunlight, preferably up against a wall. Plant 30cm apart from each other and remember to water well as they are very thirsty!
As they grow taller, they might need support, so push a bamboo stick into the ground next to them and loosely tie the plant to it. When the plant dies, it is lovely to leave the sunflower head somewhere in the garden as it makes brilliant bird food.
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These plants are really easy to grow with kids who get disheartened easily because they love poor soil and neglect. Not only is it pretty, but it is also edible and has a peppery taste to it, with its leaves and flowers being brilliant additions to salad (if you can get your children to eat it!)
They grow anywhere, trailing over window sills, pots, trellises, and flowerbeds. Sew the seeds in April, either in pots or directly into the ground. They grow quickly and soon you will be overrun with the bright flowers!
It is so easy to grow a potato crop at home, but a little more time is needed before you can dig into them. You can grow them in a large bin, or even a sack, so long as it has drainage.This is a brilliant one to grow with children as it is something that they can eat at the end, which makes looking after it more enjoyable!
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- Seed potatoes, about 4 per container – you can often get these at garden centers or supermarkets.
- Lots of compost
- Bin, Sack, Large Plastic Barrel
If your container does not have holes at the bottom, make these now. Place about 10cm of compost in the container. Put your seed potatoes carefully spread out from each other on top, and place another 10cm of soil on them. Make sure to water well. Each time the seedlings get to be around 10cm, place more compost on them so only the leaves poke out! This is called ‘earthing up’ and makes sure the potatoes aren’t poisonous.
The potatoes are ready to harvest when the plant turns yellow and starts to shrivel, usually around August to September. Cut the plant back about 4cm from the soil. Leave the potatoes in the ground for another two weeks before rummaging through so they can toughen their skin.