Even if your child's school doesn't have a garden, getting them into the garden is a wonderful way to teach them about nature and where their food comes from. Here's a guide to get your children inspired in the garden.
Involve the children in some garden planting fun!
- Planting crops that give quick results is a great way to keep children enthusiastic when getting them started. Crunchy, colourful and ready to harvest a month or so after sowing, radish is an easy crop that flourishes with only the simplest of care - plant in a warm spot on Friday and start to see them germinate on Monday.
- Salad greens such as lettuce, spinach and mesclun are easy to plant and can be harvested a leaf at a time.
- Introduce children to the goodness of the Brassica family including broccolli, cauliflower, cabbage, cavalo nero and mizuna. Mizuna is one of the speediest crop you can ever grow, it is ready to harvest within a matter of weeks.
- Snow peas can be eaten straight from the plant, and do well in the cooler months. Plant as seedlings rather than seeds.
- Once the weather warms, plant a variety of flavoursome cherry tomatoes - the perfect snack off the vine for children.
- Create a berry patch - kids love delicious juicy berries and they are easy to grow! Get the children to help plant your patch with a variety of different berries like strawberries, raspberries and boysenberries and watch them disappear into their mouths come summer. Choose a spot in full sun and add a layer of Tui Strawberry Mix to the planting area.
- Get creative and plant strawberries in guttering - a great space-saving option, and also a fun project to do with the kids. Click here for our guide to growing strawberries in guttering.
- Planting fruit trees is another great project to do with children. Plant fruits that the children enjoy to eat - citrus like oranges and mandarins, feijoas, apples and plums - tasty snacks they can pick off the tree. To plant, dig a hole approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant and partly fill with Tui Garden Mix. Place the tree in the hole, and fill in with Tui Garden Mix.
- Bees are important pollinators you want to bring to your backyard, and are an essential ingredient to any successful vege garden. Teach children how to attract beneficial bees into the garden to aid pollination of crops by planting sweet smelling flowers.
- The following are all great bee friendly options to plant: marigolds, poppies, cosmos, hollyhocks, fox gloves, echium, clover, nasturtiums, salvia, alyssum, lavender, honeysuckle and sunflowers. Sunflowers are a fun flower for the kids to grow, they are a quick and easy summer flower - simply sow seeds directly into the soil in a sunny spot. Young plants will appear in a week or two.
Create a bird cafe
- Encourage children to learn about New Zealand’s wildlife by creating your very own wild bird café in your garden! Feeding birds is a simple way to increase the number of birds in your garden and provides entertainment for the whole family. It also provides a regular food source over the cold winter months when food can be scarce. Check out the range of Tui bird feeders and seed here >
- Kids love water and it’s the back bone of a garden! Get the children to help with watering the crops they have helped planted every couple of days.
- You can also teach them how important water is to the garden and by making water capturing systems with buckets or bottles to save rain water, and then applying it to the garden.