Gardening for Kids
When you think of what a gardener may look like, many people will likely think of an older person tending to their lawn. This could not be further from the truth as gardening is by no means a hobby only for just the older generation! Even the smallest improvements like adding potted plants to your garden can make a world of difference to its look and feel, creating a tranquil space to relax. Or, if you want to put in the work – growing your own crops from seed to harvest can be incredibly rewarding whilst bringing you closer to nature.
As a family-run farm, we are passionate about gardening from big projects to small, we want to share our passion and encourage as many others as possible. By inspiring children to take an interest in gardening by starting their own projects at home, we can create an entirely new generation of avid gardeners, improving their area all while helping the local wildlife.
Here are some projects you can do at home with your own children that are suitable for various ages as well as what you will need how to get started.
Gardening for kids project suggestions
• Herb Garden
• Creating a bird box
• Birdwatching list
1st gardening project: Growing Watercress from seed - Suitable for all ages from 6 & up
Growing watercress from seed is typically one of the very first gardening projects for children in primary school. With many schools closed currently this is a fun and rewarding experience for youngsters that requires very little cost for mum and dad.
Watercress grows remarkably quickly. You can have watercress ready to harvest from as little as 6 days after germinating from seed. This fast turnover from seedling to a mature plant is ideal to keep children engaged in the project. As watercress is also delicious on a salad or sandwich, this is a task that children as old as 6 can complete with a little adult supervision and find a way to sneak more greens into their diet!
What you will need:
• Cress seed
• Small plastic container
• Cotton Wool
First, take a small, clean plastic container that will be used to grow the cress. This can be a recycled yoghurt pot, the bottom section of a drinks bottle, even egg containers. (You can even use a hollowed-out eggshell and decorate the egg!)
1) Place your cotton wool in your container and add water to make each piece damp, but not soaking wet.
2) Take your watercress seed and apply a generous sprinkling on top of the cotton wool. You can even use a cookie cooter to sprinkle them in a specific shape if you are feeling extra creative!
3) Place the container in a sunny spot indoors such as a shelf or windowsill and apply a small amount of water every other day to keep the cotton wool damp.
Following these steps, you can see steady progress every day and the cress can be ready to eat in as little as 6 days, as you can harvest it with some scissors and enjoy it on a salad or sandwich.
2nd Project: Creating a birdbox – suitable for ages 12 & Up
One of the most rewarding things about gardening is how it can bring you closer to nature. By creating a beautiful garden, you not only create an incredible space to spend time in the summer but you will no doubt attract more of the local wildlife.
By offering some food, water and shelter your garden can very quickly become a frequent stop for a huge variety of beautiful birds.
One of the best ways of encouraging birds to move in is by putting a birdbox in a safe spot in your garden. Birds are often looking for safe places to nest so a birdbox is an ideal location to offer a quiet place away from predators.
If you want to get into arts & crafts, bird boxes can be constructed out of some MDF joined by some wood glue, or alternatively purchase one from any garden centre for just a few pounds. Some high tech ones even come with a camera that can be linked up to a monitor so you can even see the chicks hatch live!
Where to position your birdbox:
Finding the perfect spot can be tricky, as you need to find a safe space where the birds can nest and ideally a position that you can watch from your window. Try to position the birdbox at least 2 meters off the ground on a wall or fence, where it is more difficult to reach for cats. You should also consider what is directly in front of the birdbox. Nesting birds like clear and obvious paths that are away from clutter.
Here is an activity sheet of what could birds could be visiting your garden! With this link, you can print off your own activity sheet and tick each species off as they visit.
Click here for a printable version of the bird watching activity sheet:
What Birds Can you spot in your garden?
3rd project: Growing Strawberries
This project requires some garden space which can be done directly into the ground or in a large planting pot. Strawberries are most often grown from seedling (Available for just a few pounds in all garden centres) and should be planted in March – April. With plenty of sunshine and water, they will be ready to harvest as soon as late June – early August.
Strawberries are not only one of the most popular choices of fruit to eat, they are one of the most popular plants to grow for children as you can watch them slowly grow from flower and develop into juicy berries that will taste way better than what you can buy in the supermarket!
What you will need:
• Strawberry seeds or seedlings
• Planting pot or planting space
• Good quality topsoil
• A space in the garden with plenty of sunshine
If planting with seedlings, gently remove them from the plastic container. They can get stuck sometimes so just be careful not to damage the stems and gently ease them free. Dig a small hole in your planting pot or space just a few inches deep will be plenty. Gently place your seedlings in the soil and pack them gently into place. Sprinkle a light layer of sharp grit on top of the soil to help it retain moisture and dissuade pests like slugs from getting to your strawbs!
If you are planting from seed, you will need to sow them in a small tray of soil for around 8 weeks before they can be planted into a larger pot outdoors.
Remember to keep an eye on the weather with outdoor plants as the rain will water them however with an extended period of drought or a heatwave, you will need to water the strawberries every few days to keep them going.
Whatever gardening projects you choose to partake in with your kids this year, one of the best ways to encourage them to take an interest is to give them some space in the garden to plant whatever they like. Not all gardening projects work the first time and there is much to learn by getting started and growing something at home. If this post has inspired you to get in the garden, consider starting your own project or if a garden is not available to you, why not start your own community garden?