Get Growing! Gardening Ideas for Little Green Fingers
I’ve just updated this blog, first published during National Children’s Gardening week 2019. I thought it may be useful now as there is never a better time to get outside in the fresh air.
Whilst I am not a brilliant gardener, my son seems to love it. He loves nothing more than digging and planting, watching things grow. We created a little vegetable patch a couple of years ago and over the past couple of years he has enjoyed watering seeds and he loves it when he sees his vegetables appear. He especially loves eating them…they taste so much better when he grows them, so it is a great way of getting him to eat some veg!
We intend to start planting some veggies soon for this years harvest, however he is currently enjoying seeing our daffodils popping up!
Grass or cress seeds (or other plants like salad that you want to see grow out of your heads!)
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 window sill or outside in your garden or balcony. Clip your name as it grows and enjoy eating it!
Make a Dalek 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 web site 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
You can pick up herbs from local supermarkets for very cheap or at local markets or garden centres. An old wheelbarrow makes a good garden base 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 meals!
If you decide to plant mint ensure you put it in a pot before you plant it so it doesn’t run wild!
Make a Sunflower Smile
Fill some small pots with compost.
Plant a Sunflower seed in each pot and give it a watering. Put your pot onto a window sill and water it once the seed sprouts, so the compost stays damp.
As your sunflower grows, tie the stem of the sunflower loosely to the bamboo cane with your garden string to support your plants.
Once the frosty weather is over (usually mid-May) dig a hole in your garden for your sunflower. Ideally dig it next to a wall or a fence that gets lots of sun.
Squeeze your sunflower and the compost it’s growing in out of your pot, and plant it in the hole that you’ve dug. Put a bamboo cane next to your sunflower and give your sunflower a good watering.
As your sunflower grows, make sure you tie the stem to the bamboo cane loosely with garden string. Try tying it using a ‘figure-of-eight’ knot as this will reduce any rubbing on the stem.
When your sunflower appears, gently tease out the seed heads to make a fantastic sunny smiling face.
If you’re really adventurous, try this next one, it looks great! We might give it a try and do a mini version with some of my little one’s old trousers that are too short!
The right trousers
Find spot in the garden where you want to plant your trousers
Tie the legs of an old pair of jeans or trousers into knots, so that compost can’t come out of the bottom of the trouser legs
Push some bamboo canes into the belt hoops around the trouser waist and tie them there with string. You’ll need to tie in at least three or four canes for each pair of trousers.
Push the bamboo canes into the ground so that your trousers are standing up.
Now fill your trousers with the compost to just an inch or two below the waist
Give the trousers a good watering. If the compost settles and no longer comes close to the waist, top up the trousers with some more compost.
Now you can plant the waist of your trousers with your seeds or plants (flowering or edible plants are all fine). If you pick some tumbling plants, they’ll trail down the legs.
Try cutting some openings into the trouser legs and putting seeds or plants into the holes for a fun ripped jeans look!