“In today's busy world, gardening has taken a back seat for many,” says author and gardener Tamsin Westhorpe, “but the lockdown has seen families turn to the garden once more.
“Gardening isn’t just fun, it's also good for physical and mental health. You can also incorporate some home-schooling – maths, art and science all link easily to the garden. Most of all, gardening is a rewarding and confidence-building activity – all without costing a fortune!”
Even if you’ve never picked up a trowel before, the best way to learn about gardening is to get stuck in and get your hands dirty. Here are Tamsin’s five simple gardening projects for kids to enjoy, whether you’re lucky enough to have a garden, or you simply have space for pots on your window-sill.
“Gardening isn’t just fun, it's also good for physical and mental health.”
1. Make your own plant pots
Look through your recycling and pull out plastic pots and bottles. Yoghurt pots and milk bottles are both perfect (a four-pint milk carton can be cut in half ). In fact, anything can be used as a plant pot if you remember to put a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
2. Create great labels
Before you start planting, let’s get inventive and make some labels for your pots of seeds. Then you’ll remember what you’ve sown and where. An old wooden lolly stick works a treat. Using a pencil, or a marker pen, write the name of the seed and the date you sowed it. Alternatively find a large flat stone and paint the details on it. You can use clear varnish on top, or just use nail polish that won’t wash off!
3. Sow some salad
Now that you have your pots, seed and labels ready to go it’s time to sow. Fill your pots with compost, making sure to rub out any lumps. Gently firm it down but don’t press too hard. Sprinkle a few lettuce, rocket or basil seeds on the surface and then lightly water. Place your seeds in a sunny porch or on a sunny doorstep or windowsill.
4. Paint stones
Turn unwanted stones into ladybirds. These cheery insects are easy to paint because of their bright colour scheme and symmetrical pattern. If you only have indoor paint that’s fine, just keep your bugs inside. You can make a family of ladybirds and pop one into the pot of every houseplant you have.
5. Design a mini garden
Using a shallow plant pot, an old plate or a tray, have fun creating a miniature garden. Collect small stones, moss, flowers and twigs to make a mini garden on a plate. What tiny people or animals might live in a world like that? Let your imagination run wild and make up a story.