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Spring family gardening guide

Spring is finally here and it’s a time of incredible growth in the garden, encouraging children into the garden is a wonderful way to teach them about nature and where their food comes from.

Ask your kids what they would like to grow. It’s a well-proven fact that if kids are involved with growing vegetables, they are much more likely to eat the vegetables.

When deciding what to grow – the sky is the limit, but certain crops will grow better depending on your soil type.

Ask your kids what they would like to grow. It’s a well-proven fact that if kids are involved with growing vegetables, they are much more likely to eat the vegetables.

No space? No problem!

You don’t have to own a big plot of land to garden. Fruit and vegetables can easily be grown in pots or containers, on a balcony or windowsill or even inside if you’re a city dweller! Strawberries do very well in hanging baskets and tomatoes absolutely thrive in containers, so long as they have ample sunlight. Radishes do great in deep pots and beans grow well in pots with a trellis.

Water
Kids love water and it’s the back bone of a garden! Get the children to help with watering the crops they have helped plant by making a roster and assigning them with water duty each day.

Weeding
Weeding isn’t a big chore if you do it regularly. Weeds absorb precious nutrients from your soil, stealing them from the plants you’re trying to grow. Show your kids how to pull up the weeds without damaging the plants.

Bee Friendly

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, 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.

Here are some of the veges Palmers recommends planting with your littlies over Spring!

1. Potatoes

Potatoes are an amazing vegetable to grow with children because you don’t need a vege patch, potatoes will happily grow in planter bags, pots or containers! Plus, nearly all kids like eating potatoes since they are versatile to cook with. As you start with a seed potato, it’s a little bit like a science experiment, which is lots of fun. Once the seed potatoes have ‘eyes’, you can plant them in a deep bucket or potato bag. Every time the plants reach the surface, cover with more soil. Potatoes are an easy vegetable for kids to learn how to take care of themselves. A good tip is to wait until all the flowers on the potato plant have nearly died back before harvesting your potatoes.

2. Peas

Peas are also easy to grow and grow quickly, they can also be grown in pots. They are the most fun to harvest as the kids love shelling them from their pea pods! Peas can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days which makes them perfect for getting the most out of your crop. Choose the sunniest spot in your garden to grow your peas. Plant seeds 2.5cm deep and space 5cm apart. Cover and water.

3. Carrots

Carrots are another great option. Carrots love soaking up the sun. When picking the perfect spot to plant yours, find somewhere that gets lots of full sun. Ensuring your carrots have space is one of the most important elements. Bunching your seeds will cause your carrots to fight for space leaving them misshapen and at higher risk of contracting disease or rotting. When sowing use a light hand to sprinkle seeds as thinly as possible. If you are wanting to plant rows of carrots, make sure you leave between 40 and 50cm of space between rows. If you’re planting in a container, ensure your container is at least 30cm deep, giving the roots enough space to develop.

4. Leafy Greens

There are plenty of leafy greens that are fun and easy to grow. Look for the varieties that you eat most as a family, this could be lettuce, mesclun, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, bok choi, kale or you could even add some herbs to your garden and have your kids create planters for them. Leafy greens are quick win crops as they grow and produce reasonably quickly.

5. Cherry Tomatoes

Ok, they’re technically a fruit, but cherry tomatoes are still a great crop to grow with your children. Usually high yielding, producing a heap of little tomatoes that are sweet and delicious. They’ll happily grow in pots or containers and are perfect for snacking, lunchboxes, salads or vegetable kebabs.

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