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The children are our future and one of the best ways to instil them with healthy eco values is through gardening. It will also change their attitude to food, and may even make some of the old ‘I won’t touch’ foods into favourites.
This can be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone and provides unlimited learning opportunities for kids and adults.
Here are some tips:
- Keep it simple, and probably small. Gardening doesn’t need much space and in fact many successfully garden out of containers. Use just a few easy to grow vegetables, maybe some flowers. Simple means less stressful and more likelihood of success.
- Choose the right plants. Some veges you can plant straight into the soil because of their large seed size. I suggest peas and bush beans. These both can be eaten raw straight from the plant. Peas have the wonderful ‘open a present’ thing happening. Watch them become a kid’s favourite. If you have room you could try a rambling melon, rock melon or watermelon. Radish are easy and produce very quickly but may be too spicy for some kids. Other easy plants include lettuce, sunflowers, marigolds, carrots, cherry tomatoes and parsley.
- Make the layout suit the kid. You can have raise beds, containers, or just walk between rows. Make sure the rows are close enough together that your child can reach the middle of the garden without stepping on the soil and compacting it. And make one area which they have complete freedom to experiment themselves.
- Let them have their own tools. These don’t need to be expensive or new. Can get kid sized gloves, shovel and watering cans.
- Get them to decorate the garden. Seed markers, special rocks and shells, drift wood. This can be an art project as well.