The country’s biggest annual celebration of gardening runs from Monday 26 April to Sunday 2 May this year and is full of activities to encourage the next generation of gardeners.
Gardening has been proven to help mental health and wellbeing and is even being prescribed by doctors to help with mild anxiety and depression. With events of the last year affecting everyone, it really is something that can benefit the whole family.
Now the clocks have gone forward, it’s the perfect time to get your children outside and involved in gardening. You don’t even have to have much space or be particularly green-fingered yourself to take part in, as it’s something you can learn to do together.
Small space saviours
If you live in a flat or don’t have much outside space, there are still lots of things you can grow.
Window boxes can be brightened up with colourful bedding plants such as pansies or begonias.
Even if you just have a window sill, herbs are great to grow as they look pretty and you get to eat them too! Just buy potted herbs in the supermarket and transplant them into a different pot to keep them healthy.
For little ones, cress heads are an easy and fun way to introduce your kids to gardening. We have a fun idea for how to grow cress in our Spring Activity Pack.
Eat what you grow
If your kids take part in growing fruit and veggies, it might just encourage them to try and eat more of them.
Most children love strawberries, and luckily they’re easy to grow in pots and small spaces – great if you just have a small patio or balcony. Gardener’s world has tested some different strawberry planters from classic planters to grow bags so you can choose what works best for your space. You can even get vertical hanging planters, which are easily fixed to a sunny wall.
Tomatoes are also a great option, no matter what space you have. You can buy special tomato grow bags for ease and there are also loads of types and colours to grow, from the smallest cherry tomatoes to giant beef tomatoes.
If you want to encourage your kids to eat more green things, lettuce, mangetout and green beans are good starters which are easy to grow and don’t need heaps of space. Seeds are really cheap and are available to buy in high street shops such as Wilko or your local supermarket.
The bees knees
Attract wildlife such as bees and butterflies into the garden, by growing pollinating wildflowers. You can buy special ‘bee bombs’ which are wildflower seed balls, perfect for children to grow. Just scatter on a flower bed, give them plenty of water and in a few months’ time you’ll see an abundance of colour from the flowers and butterflies and hear the buzzing of bees.
Sunflowers are another easy flower for kids to give a go and they look really pretty in late summer. Sow sunflower seeds from April to May, individually in 10cm pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost and plant out into the garden from early June. You could even have a family competition to see who’s grows the tallest!
Kids are often fascinated by creepy crawlies, so try building a bug hotel. They provide safe hidey-holes for wildlife in your garden from little critters like ladybirds, bees and woodlice all the way up to larger creatures such as toads and hedgehogs. RSPB has a step-by-step guide how to make one, or you can buy ready-made bug hotels.
There’s really is something for all the family to enjoy in the garden, not just who draws the short straw to cut the grass. Just make sure any school uniform is off before they get their hands in the soil bag!
Take a look at our Eco Activity Pack too for some more fun activites.