Time for our mini gardeners to enjoy
The squish and squelch of damp earth, and the smell of soil – playing in the dirt is one of those simple joys of childhood, and it’s an experience you can relive when you get out in the garden with your little ones. “Planting a vegie patch is the perfect place to start, especially as they can look forward to the reward of tasty food,” says Steve Falcioni, marketing manager at OCP’s Eco-Organic Garden. It’s time for our mini gardeners to get their hands dirty.
Build it right
“For maximum buy-in, give kids their own spot and let them decide what they want to grow,” says Steve. Choose a space close to the house and make sure the bed is low and narrow so they can easily reach it and access their produce. For a no-fuss approach, consider Birdies’ 4 Kids 6-in-1 modular raised garden bed, which uses bright colours and the choice of six different shapes to engage budding gardeners. Fill the bed with bags of good-quality organic garden soil and you’re ready to start planting.
Tip: Personalise garden beds with paint, or spell out the kids’ names using magnetic letters.
Before you let loose in-store, narrow your plant selection to a few easy growers. “Pea seeds are large and easy to handle, plus they grow fast and are sweet enough to be eaten straight from the plant,” says Steve. Lettuce is also a good choice, and super easy to grow in pots or beds. To really get the senses tingling, look for seedlings of rosemary, sage and thyme, which kids will love to touch and smell.
Now comes the fun part – watching the magic happen! Regular watering is key for growth, and getting out with the hose is fun and engaging for little ones, but establishing a regular watering schedule can be tough for kids. For peace of mind, consider installing irrigation. “Dripline irrigation systems are easy for beginners and you can create your own system using Holman Flex-Tube and micro fittings,” says Shenei Croll from Holman. “Alternatively, a dripping hose paired with a tap timer is perfect for delivering precise amounts of water at the right times.”
Your homegrown goodies won’t go unnoticed by hungry, uninvited guests!” says Steve. “But pest attacks are an opportunity to teach kids to be observant and practise problem-solving skills.” Have a pest hunt – evening or night, armed with a torch, are the best times for a raid. Can they be picked off (caterpillars), blasted with a jet of water (aphids), or is more help needed? A fun solution to some pest problems is to release predatory insects such as lady beetles. Five predatory insects are sold in the Eco-Organic Garden Backyard Buddies range (available all over Australia except WA – ask at the Special Orders Desk). “They’re delivered to your door, and kids love releasing them into the garden,” says Steve.
Have some fun in the garden
Check out your local Bunnings for all you need to build your child friendly edible garden and while you’re there, speak to one of our garden experts for more tips on what to plant.