Where to begin:
I guess the first step is to create the interest – if it’s not already there. Find something that will appeal to your child’s nature. You will know whether the idea of:
bugs lurking in the cabbages,
or growing food to eat will appeal to your child.
Whatever way you can, get him or her into the garden and raring to go!
If you decide to create a children’s vegetable or flower patch, nothing could be simpler… Allot the space and prepare as you would any veggie patch. Dig deeply and turn in some well-rotted manure or compost. Rake over, removing any weeds and large stones.
Create a border round the new veggie patch. There are a number of things you can use for this, depending on your budget or what you have available:
low growing flowers.
split logs pushed in vertically
large stones / small rocks
narrow length of chicken wire – careful though. chicken wire can bite.
For a childs space, my favourite would have to be the low growing flowers. The seeds can be started indoors early spring and the baby plants put out around the edge of the new patch in late spring or early summer.
The other ideas should be at least supervised by an adult. If the child is slightly older and is a whiz with a hammer, then split logs could be a good option.
Large stones or small rocks can look stunning and can be used to grow small trailing plants over. However placing rocks and stones can pinch, so protective gloves are best worn, and protective boots.
Again chicken wire can bite! Protective gloves are a must and a little DIY knowledge could come in handy when erecting a small fence.
NB: Remember whatever the kids gardening project you decide on, safety must always come first!
This kid’s gardening kit is just perfect for tinies! From Amazon (UK)
Little Pals Children’s Wheelbarrow & Gardening Tool Set with Watering Can, Gloves, Trowel and Fork, Kneeler in Carry Bag
As far as you can, choose seed types that germinate fairly quickly. Hopefully you may have started off some seeds indoors earlier in the spring with your child, and these plants will make a great start to the kid’s garden.
Sow short lines of seeds. Maybe sow just one line every few days or so.
It’s important to check your garden every day, even if only for five minutes.
It can take longer to get your boots, gloves, hat and coat on than it takes to weed a whole bed if the ground has been prepared properly beforehand!
Daily checklist for the veggie patch:
*Pull out any weeds
*Water if ground is dry
*Watch out for birds stealing the seeds you’ve sown. Make a bird-scarer with old CDs/DVDs strung up over the veggie patch.
*Sow small lines of seeds regularly
*Thin or transplant seedlings as they grow big enough
There’s always something you can do in the garden and it’s good to get the fresh air and be in touch with nature every day.
And a quick note: Use biodegradable pots. When seedlings are ready to plant out, transplant them straight into the garden in their pots.
You can make your own by rolling newspaper around a rolling pin or use cardboard tubes – cardboard tubes may be too tall but if you cut them in half you get two for the price of one!
Squash them into a tray so they don’t fall over. Although watering will make the cardboard wet and soggy, it doesn’t really matter because when the seedlings are ready to plant out, you can either plant the whole pot (cardboard tube) or peel off the cardboard and plant the soil and seedling out together. This helps to avoid damage to the roots.