One of the great things about vegetable gardens is that children get to reap real rewards for their efforts and you’ll be surprised by what they will eat if they’ve grown it themselves.
Which vegetables you can plant will depend largely on the time of year, but there’s always something in planting season.
You don’t need to make a huge garden; in fact, there are many vegetables you can grow in pots or planters. Cherry tomatoes, capsicums, and zucchinis are all easy to grow and provide some fairly quick results, or if you have the room, pumpkins grow with very little help.
Your children will love the idea of actually producing something, and will get real joy in picking the fruits of their harvest.
If the idea of planting a vegetable garden seems a little ambitious, try making a herb garden instead. Herb plants are obviously available from garden centres, but most supermarkets also have a selection of herb plants and they only cost a few dollars.
Everyday herbs like parsley, chives, and mint are easy to grow, and your child can start enjoying them instantly.
Like vegetables, herbs can be grown in pots as well as gardens, so no matter where you live a herb garden is definitely attainable.
Make a Hanging Basket
Nothing says “instant gratification” like a hanging basket. You will need a wire basket, a basket liner (or some hay), potting mix, and a selection of small flowering annuals.
Simply fill the basket with potting mix and plant your flowers in the top. To create a basket that is completely encased in flowers, cut slits in the basket liner and poke flower plants in from the sides and bottom.
Hanging baskets don’t last forever, but it will give you something to replant every holidays, and the results are instant.
All that Rubbish
A compost heap may not sound all that glamorous, but setting one up is lots of fun, especially if your children likes the idea of mess and muck. You can make one in a bin, box, or just a heap and there are several ways to get it started. Once the compost is set-up, your children can take responsibility for making sure it is well fed. Have them decorate a bucket for food scraps and let them be in charge of emptying it every day. You’ll be surprised how well they take on the chore, if they’ve been a part of the process right from the start.
Seeds and Sprouts
Young children love growing seeds and bulbs indoors and you don’t need a lot to get started.
Simply use an empty egg carton as your seed tray, fill each compartment with potting mix and plant your seeds. Bean seeds and grass seeds grow quickly, so children get results before they lose interest.
Make your own terrarium
Large wide necked jars make cute glasshouses for children’s rooms. Simply line the base of the jar with small stones, or gravel, then ¼ fill the jar with potting mix and put a few more decorative stones on top. Small white stones work really well.
Plant a cactus or two in the bottom and it’s ready to go. If your children are feeling really creative, they can make other garden ornaments to put inside the glasshouse as well.
Inhabitat.com also suggest adding some charcoal granules to the lower layers. This helps reduce bacteria, fungi and odours.