No, I'm obviously not suggesting that you hand over your garden to a 4 year old. However why not give your child (or children) a vegetable garden of their very own.
Getting your children into gardening will teach them many values. They will realise where their food comes from, how plants grow, what plants need to survive, they will have fun and of course they will eat their own produce. Not only that but most kids like the mini-beasts that live in soil too, so this is an added kiddy bonus!
You may think that growing vegetables in such a small space is impossible, however there are loads of veggies that grow well in compact spaces.
- We all know that carrots have very long roots, however, the variety Parmex are small and round! They look like little orange gold balls and only have a root length between 1" and 2" so perfect for containers, even window boxes.
- All varieties of lettuces grow extremely well in containers. We had a yield here of around 30 lettuce heads all planted in a container.
- Radishes are small, grow well when compacted and grow very quickly, perfect for kids!
- Don’t think that cress can only be grown in a saucer with a wet paper towel like you used to do at school. Simply spread your cress seeds over the top of the soil in your container and water.
- Tomatoes (OK, we know, not strictly a vegetable!) grow very well in containers as long as they are in the sun, however you can also grow them indoors on a sunny window sill or even in a hanging basket.
- Garlic takes a long time to grow, but is easy to plant and grow in a container or tub.
- Chilli's grow very well in a tub, we grew them last year and they were lovely.
- Spinach will grow well in a container, just make sure it does not wilt in the sun.
- Shallots need a container rather than a window box but grow very well and home grown shallots are lovely and sweet!
- Herbs. Yes, I know, they are not vegetables! BUT you can also grow herbs in containers too.
Any type of containers work such as crates, boxes, flower pots, even old roasting tins! Trugs, old baths, tubs and tyres and also be used.
Start planning in the colder months so as soon as Spring arrives you know exactly what you are going to do, let your kids draw plans of how they want their veg patch to look and get them involved at every step of the way.
Don’t forget to always use good quality organic compost. These days this is inexpensive and you can even buy it local supermarkets as well as garden centres.
Check the packets of seeds or plant boxes to see when and how to plant each seedling or seed.
Make sure you always supply your kids with a packet of baby or hand wipes when they are gardening, just for those quick wash ups.