Getting little gardeners out and about this summer
IF you have kids on holidays from school and are looking for something to do, why not get them gardening? If you get kids gardening now in this present situation then they just might be kept interested in years to come. So here are some activities you can do to get kids interested in gardening.
If you happen to be buying a pineapple in the supermarket chose one that has green and fresh-looking leaves on top. Once you have the pineapple at home cut it about one inch or three centimetres from the top. Leave this green top it to dry for three or four days. Then plant it in a pot with lots of grit or gravel in the bottom of the pot for added drainage. With some luck after several weeks you will see growth forming and you will be left with a tropical-looking house plant. You may not ever get to harvest a pineapple- it’s just a bit of fun! A reader did previously reach out to say they had great success with this and did, indeed, manage to grow a baby pineapple- how cool is that?
Carrot and Parsnip Tops
If you happen to be having fresh carrots or parsnips for dinner- keep the tops. These tops can be placed into trays of water. After a couple of weeks, you will have shoots appear that will give you some feathery leaves. Again, this will not grow into a carrot or parsnip- just a temporary house plant.
Radishes are easy to grow, as they tolerate most soil types and are quick to crop (usually within three weeks). They’re delicious eaten raw, offering a fiery burst of flavour to salads. There’s a wide variety of cultivars to choose from, ranging from near spherical red-and-white roots, to long, thin white radishes, also known as mooli. Another advantage with radishes for kids is that the seeds are round and easily managed in small hands. Because radishes are so quick to crop, don’t sow all the seeds in one go, but at weekly intervals, for a successional crop through summer.
Beetroot are a great one for kids to start with. They grow easily from seed, the seed it large enough to handle and the beetroot can be used in many different dishes. Beetroot prefer to be grown in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot, but will also thrive in raised beds or pots. Sow seeds directly into the soil from mid-spring.
Depending on variety, beetroot is ready to be picked when the roots are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball - this is usually 90 days after sowing. To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork. Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice - don't throw these away, they have bags of taste and can be cooked and eaten like spinach.
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