With the end of the school term in sight, I imagine many of you are looking for interesting ways to keep your little ones occupied through the summer holidays. All children love the outdoors and tending the garden or sowing seeds is great way to help them understand and explore the wonders of nature.
Crops that mature quickly are ideal to keep children’s attention. Radish, baby kale, lettuce and other leafy salad greens are ready to harvest within four to five weeks so are perfect for a summer project with the kids. These are ideal for slightly older children as the seeds are small. With young children it’s also important to think about planting seeds that will be easy for them to handle and quick to germinate.
Here’s my pick of the top six seeds to sow with young children (big seeds for little hands):
- Beetroot (great if grown as quicker growing salad leaf)
Six steps to simple sowing with your kids:
1. If sowing into soil, make a hole in the ground or a seed drill (shallow line for planting seeds into)
2. If sowing into pots, fill the seed tray or pot with potting compost and pat down
3. Sow seeds. Smaller seeds should be rationed from the packet into your child’s hands to avoid wastage.
4. Cover up the seeds with soil or seed compost.
5. Water in well – Kids love this job. Use a watering can with a very fine rose or a spray mister to ensure the seeds are not washed away.
6. Your child can also write the plant labels. Ice lolly sticks are perfect.
If you’re short of outdoor space, why not investigate allotments or community growing projects in your area? Throughout the year Growhampton offer opportunities for families and friends to join us in our campus growing spaces at the University of Roehampton and help make a difference to our plots. Next week we’ll be talking about baby leaf kale.
Joel Williams is the Grower for the University of Roehampton Students’ Union’s Growhampton project
Top tip of the week: After sowing seed, you can cover pots and trays so the seeds never dry out: clear polythene secured with an elastic band does this nicely.