Let the Children Grow!
There has been a lot of media attention recently about children not having enough outdoor activity and exercise. A simple way to get kids outside in the fresh air is to foster an interest in growing their own plants, be it vegetables or flowers. Children just love to plant seeds and grow things especially if they can eat the end result, so encourage yours (or your grandchildren!) to start growing. You will be amazed at how quickly they will begin to learn about the things we eat – and that not everything comes from a supermarket shelf!
So why not spare a little corner of the garden for them to try to grow their own food and flowers? If there isn’t any room to spare in the garden find some containers – anything can be used to grow plants - in fact as far as children are concerned the wackier the container the better! Let them plant up a pair of dad’s old boots or wellies with chives or basil or grow a mix of herbs in an old shopping bag or basket.
The key to keeping kids interested is quick results - so bear that in mind when buying seeds for them to grow. There are lots of quick grow seeds that are favourites for children to grow - cut and come again lettuce and salad leaves with a mix of colours, shapes and textures is always a good one. Kids love little baby carrots rinsed under the tap and eaten straight from the garden!
Radish French Breakfast is the fastest growing radish of all and gives very quick results. Runner Bean Hestia is another good ‘child sized’ veg to grow, the seeds are big so they are easy for the youngest child to handle. An easy way to grow runner beans is to start them off in cardboard tubes from toilet rolls, these are bio-degradable and when plants are ready they can be planted straight into the garden - still in the tube - without disturbing the roots at all. They start to germinate in a matter days and when children see those first little shoots uncurling they will be so excited to think they’ve done it all themselves!
Sunflowers are always a favourite, especially with the very young, Hollyhocks grow really tall and Poached Egg Plant and pot marigolds Calendula will bring loads of wildlife into the garden
Children will love watering and tending the seedlings every day watching them grow. They will be sampling their first Baby Leaves and little Radish in next to no time!
Marshalls ‘Childrens Favourites’
Carrot Purple Haze
Unusual funky colour to grab their interest, very sweet
Good and early, pick as ‘baby carrots’
Radish French Breakfast
Fast growing for extra quick results.
Tomato Garden Pearl or Sweet Million
Masses of small fruit and no staking.
Easy to grow and lots of fruit.
Self pruning and lots of mini fruits - great for lunchboxes
Lettuce Tom Thumb
Quick growing mini lettuce.
Lovely green and red Little Gem type
Lettuce Salad Bowl
Lots of different leaves to cut and come again.
Pea Sugar Ann
Sweet to eat straight from the plant.
Pumpkin Dills Atlantic Giant
Grow monster pumpkins.
Runner Bean Hestia
Dwarf growing for pot or garden
Grow on the windowsill, quick results – no garden required.
Limnanthes (Poached Egg Flower)
Low growing with masses of flowers loved by bees, butterflies and many other insects
Large flower heads loved by bees
Hollyhock Old Fashioned Mix
Really tall 6 ft flower stems.