We are still full of resolution in February, but it’s not really the month when we can get out into the garden for any length of time. The focus has to be on growing indoors, general garden maintenance and preparation and planning for the growing season.
Ideas for Indoor Growing with Kids
You will need a window ledge with a sunny aspect.
Grow cress. You can now buy packets of seeds that do not contain the mustard seeds as well so they are ideal for children. Sprinkle them traditionally on dampened kitchen paper towel on small plastic tray and ask your child to monitor and then keep watering as the seeds dry out. They will germinate within days and you should be harvesting within days.
Make it more fun by sowing the cress in the shape of the first Initial of your child’s name a leafy A or B looks great. Kidsinthegarden’s favourite is to grow cressheads. An eggshell stuffed with kitchen paper and topped with cress seeds will soon spout into a fine head of hair.
Sprout some beans in a jar
Cut the top off a couple of carrots, which of course are the plants roots and grow some carrot tops from them. Place them on top of dampened kitchen paper and keep moist. You will see from the photo we are also growing some by just hanging them above some water. They will soon start sprouting.
Think about growing some bulbs indoors. You can still buy bulbs for paperwhites (a form of narcissus) in the shops. Buy bulbs sold for growing as pot plants indoors In 30 to 40 days you will have beautiful fragrant flowers. It may be a little late to plant hyacinth bulbs, but you can buy them already planted in the shops and your child can still have the fun of looking after them, seeing them grow and smelling their beautiful fragrance.
Out in the Garden
Clear, crisp, sunny winter’s days are a fab time to get the children out into the garden.
As the leaves fell from the trees very late this year you may still have a very leafy garden. Rake the remains of any leaves from the grass, paths and borders to make leaf mould to put back into your garden next year. Find out here how to do this.
Start planting up or renewing some of your perennial garden herbs. Some hardy ones such as rosemary, thyme and sage are in the garden centres already. Its easy planting the herbs out from containers, but oh so satisfying for the children when they start to grow and they can help harvest them.
If you haven’t don’t so already, allocate your child a patch of the border of a couple of large pots as there own garden. The plot can be dug over with a trowel and mulched with compost, leaf mould or manure. You can spend a rainy morning with them planning what they are going to grow.
Feed and provide water for the birds.
Did you remember to plant spring bulbs last autumn? If not you can find them in garden centres and market stalls already planted. If you can get hold of them pop them out of the pots they come in into a slightly larger pot. but do not separate them. A large group will look great. I grow most of my bulbs in pots in the garden so that they can be moved nearer the house to be seen if the weather is too wet and cold for us to get outside.
Once the bulbs start sprouting why not play the measuring game and ask your child to see how fast and tall the flowers and leaves grow.
Looking Forward into Spring
Have a look at our growing with kids pages and see what vegetables and plants you may wish to grow as a family.
We like some of the following websites selling seeds – they are not in any particular order.
It is worthwhile asking to be sent a catalogue somehow the plants look different more beautiful and are easier to compare on paper. They are also reat source material for collages and artwork with the kids.
If you intend to do lots of growing and gardening this year then your local horticultural society will be a good source of cost effective goods and expertise for you.
For Half Term fun head to a snowdrop garden. The National Gardens Scheme has a nationwide list of Snowdrop Openings.