Encourage your children in the garden with fun gardening projects these summer holidays! Getting them into the garden is a wonderful way to teach them about nature and where their food comes from.
Build a sweetpea tepee
Not only do tepee's make a great visual feature in the garden, building your own is a fun project to do with the children. Along with sweetpeas, climbing beans and cucumbers are good options for tepees.
- Choose an area in your patch with enough space for the tepee to stand.
- Blend in Tui Compost and Tui Super Sheep Pellets to condition the soil and give your garden an instant boost and sustained growth.
- Start by using 3–5 stakes, at least 1.2m long to make a tepee formation in your garden bed. Bamboo stakes or wooden sticks work well. Ensure the stakes are pressed firmly into the ground. Tie the stakes together with string or twine. To promote coverage over the tepee loop a string or wire from the top around the stakes to the bottom (as seen in the picture above).
- Push sweetpea seeds into the soil around the base of the tepee. They will gradually climb up and create a real interest point in the garden and the beautiful flowers will attract the bees, which are essential friends in your garden.
- If you are planting beans and cucumbers, soak your plants in a bucket of Seasol, seaweed based plant tonic before planting to promote strong root growth and reduce transplant shock. The children will enjoy this part!
- For each plant, dig a hole at the base of the stakes approximately twice the size of the root ball of your plant.
- Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position in the centre of the hole.
- Press soil firmly around the base of the plant.
- Finish by watering the newly planted area well.
Create a butterfly garden
Butterflies are a delightful sight in the garden that children love! Attract butterflies into your garden by planting butterfly friendly plants.
Butterflies need two types of plants: the females will lay eggs on host plants and then all adults, males and females need nectar from flowering plants.
- Swan plants are available from your local garden centre and are a host plant for monarch butterflies. Tweedia is another host plant option to plant in your garden.
- Choose a sunny spot sheltered from the wind.
- Mass plantings of one colour are easier for butterflies to spot and guide them to your garden, rather than mixed colours.
- Suitable flowers usually have ‘landing platforms’, and many daisies are excellent.
- Calendula, marigold, chrysanthemum, sweet William, snapdragon, English wallflower and zinnia are the perfect plants to provide nectar for butterflies.
- Get creative when planting butterfly friendly flowers - upcycle containers or create a pallet garden bursting with flowes. Tyres are another option - get the kids to paint them before planting for a splash of colour.
- Plant in Tui Flower Mix, a high quality planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide sustained flowering throughout the season.
Plant a vege patch
Involve the children in some garden planting fun by teaching them how to grow their own food. Planting crops that give quick results is a great way to keep children enthusiastic when getting them started!
- Allocate an area of your vegetable garden for the children to plant their veges, create a garden using pots and containers, or build a small raised garden.
- If planting in the garden add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix before planting. If planting in pots and containers fill them with Tui Vegetable Mix first.
- As a rule of thumb spinach, lettuce, leeks, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mizuna, silverbeet, celery and spring onions are all good ‘beginner’ crops for this time of year. Mizuna is one of the speediest crop you can ever grow.
- 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.
- Plant a variety of flavoursome cherry tomatoes - the perfect snack off the vine for children!