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Family gardening tips and inspiration

Would you like to get your kids more involved in the garden this summer? With just a little creativity, you can tempt them away from screens and into the sunshine. Here are a few inspiring ways to get the little ones to pitch in on the veg patch.

June 2015

Make planting fun

Kids are fascinated by nature, so explaining how plants grow and how the food we eat arrives on our plates will get them really enthusiastic about growing their own. Runner beans, strawberries and courgettes are all easy to grow and make for a delicious harvest. Surprise your kids by showing them how the humble kitchen colander can be used for planting strawberries. Simply add potting soil and plant their chosen plants. Pat down to support each plant's root ball, then water lightly.

Get creative with gardening tools

Ask the little ones to water thirsty plants with a watering can or help sweep up dead flowers and leaves with a brush and pan. As a follow-up activity, Dawn Isaac, award-winning family garden designer, suggests having an open air art class where the kids can personalise their own watering can and even their wellies with bright colours. The easiest way to do this is to use acrylic paint pens, but watch your clothes as the paint isn't easy to wash out!

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The garden pot with a twist

This fun way to grow cress and 'micro-herbs' is sure to be a hit with the kids. Instead of using the usual terracotta garden pots, expert gardener Dawn Isaac suggests using egg boxes to make a cute caterpillar-shaped container. Follow these simple steps and the little ones will soon be tending to cress caterpillars in the garden or on the window ledge.

  • Cut an egg-box into two down the middle, creating two 'caterpillars'.
  • Make small holes with a pen on the side of each egg-space of the caterpillar (three holes along the caterpillar = six holes for legs and two holes at the front for antennae).
  • Add googley eyes or buttons for eyes and pipe cleaners for the legs. Use as many colours as you like.
  • Add pipe cleaner antennae at the front.
  • Fill the three hollows of the egg box with wet cotton wool.
  • Sprinkle different seeds over the wet cotton wool such as rainbow beetroot, radish, rocket and coriander.
  • Regularly water the seeds, and you'll have tasty micro-herbs or cress in no time.
  • You could use bigger egg boxes and create cress centipedes in the same way!

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