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What to Plant with Children?

(10 Posts)
Earlybird Wed 23-Mar-05 11:15:10

Hello - On this beautiful day, I'm thinking of planting with dd this spring so that we can share the pleasure of growing a few things together. We're limited by the fact that we're in a London flat, so whatever we plant will have to go into pots/boxes on a balcony and/or window sill. Please can anyone give me suitable suggestions, along with a time frame for planting? Anything foolproof (or nearly) would be great, as I'm not sure about the state of my green thumb! Thanks.

Mothernature Wed 23-Mar-05 11:31:52

Plant a salad bowl: {grin} Taken from tips on the B.B.C

How long will it take?
This is a longer-term project that needs regular involvement. This project is best in spring or summer.

What you will need
a plot of good soil
garden tools
compost or manure
watering can
seeds of salad crops, such as lettuce, spring onion, rocket, nasturtium, pot marigold, cherry tomato, pea and crystal apple cucumber
Step-by-step guide
1 Help your children to dig over the soil and mix in some compost or manure.

2 They will need to plant the seeds following the guidance on the seed packets. They don't have to grow the crops in rows - they can plant in patches, spirals or even in pots and window-boxes if they wish. Just ensure the children leave enough space to be able to get to the plants for watering, weeding, slug removing and picking!

3 When they have planted the seeds, they need to water them gently. Ask your children to water them every evening if it's at all dry - seeds must be kept moist to germinate.

4 When they start to grow, your children should ensure the slugs don't come and eat everything. They could try making a slug trap with some beer in a jar - make sure you dig a hole to place the jar in so that it sits at soil level.

5 Remind your children to keep pulling out the weeds, but not to disturb the lovely salad crops. And they could give the pea plants some twigs to climb up.

6 Now they must wait until the salad crops look ready to eat - they'll have to be patient! The raw peas can go in salad - the children just need to take them out of their pods.

The nasturtiums and pot marigolds are there for two reasons: they encourage predators (pest-eaters) to come into your garden, and you can eat them too! The marigold petals and the leaves and flowers of the nasturtium will brighten up any salad.

7 Try growing some tomato plants with your child. March is a good time to do this. Start by filling a small flowerpot with fresh potting compost.

8 Press the soil until it's firmly packed and then evenly sprinkle a few tomato seeds on the surface of the soil.

9 Cover the seeds by putting a little compost into another pot and shaking it gently over the new seeds, like a pepper pot.

10 Cover the pot with cling film or a plastic bag and secure it with an elastic band and place it in a warm, light place until the seeds begin to sprout.

11 When the seedlings appear they will need to transfer them to their own pots. And around June time, when the weather is a bit warmer, they can plant them outside in larger pots or in the garden.

12 Ensure they keep the plants well-watered and give them a special treat of plant food once a week.Get your child to wash their hands after gardening, and the produce before they eat it.

Tips and advice
Tomatoes thrive on a regular feed of tomato food, which is high in potassium.

Happy planting and healthy eating

Nemo1977 Wed 23-Mar-05 11:37:20

I got a kids planting tub from asda for 3.60 ish and it has seeds compost etc and is a yellow tub. Have got it to try with my ds but they did have tons of stuff

gingernut Wed 23-Mar-05 11:42:27

Cress on windowsill. Dwarf sunflowers in pots, if you have a sunny spot. Cress can be done any time I think, and germinates overnight. Sunflowers, we have just planted some indoors in seed trays (will be planted out later). They have not come up yet (3 days later). If you want to plant them directly outdoors on your balcony you should probably wait a bit longer. The packs will have instructions.

hub2dee Wed 23-Mar-05 22:40:21

Mushroom growing box from B&Q, garden centres etc. about three quid. Great fun.

WigWamBam Wed 23-Mar-05 22:46:55

Strawberries or cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets.

TwinSetAndPearls Thu 24-Mar-05 01:03:52

Lasy year we did sweet peas, carrots, tomatoes and sunflowers.

All of which went down well although the carrots were her favourite. She was just fascinated that she could eat something she had planted as a seed. I would imagine strawberries would be a great favourite.

At the moment we just have some tubs of traditional spring flowers like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths that she has planted and is watering. She loves it and has learnt all the names.

jabberwocky Thu 24-Mar-05 01:20:50

Lamb's ears are nice and fuzzy for little hands to feel. Radishes grow quickly and the Easter Egg variety comes in different colors. Mint is easy to grow, smells nice and comes in lots of varieties (chocolate!) as do Scented geraniums (I think the true name is pelargonium?). Cosmos and zinnias bloom fairly quickly and butterflies like them.

TwinSetAndPearls Thu 24-Mar-05 01:40:49

Might try lambs ears, I have also found dd likes smelly things - she also loves mint.

hub2dee Thu 24-Mar-05 07:36:31

Not a 'traditional' kids plant, but creeping mint (metha. requenii or something like that), or creeping Thyme are fun to walk / roll on as their stunning smells delight the olfactory passages.

More nose education: Lemon Verbena - give the leaves a squeeze and sniff. Super yummy.

Bamboo: tough and fast growing and not to my taste (but that might change)... kids can run between them capturing each other's toys and hitting each other till they need to break down in tears and run inside for some chocolate pieces stuffed in white bread and TLC.

Oooooh: Carnivorous Plants - Saracenia pitchers, venus fly traps etc. Gotta love the ghoul behind their macabre mindsets.

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