How to get kids out in the garden
MANY little hands make for fun work in the garden and the skills they learn will stay with them a lifetime, according to Russell Young from Garden Gems Nursery at Burpengary.
"Be excited with them and make their plants their own, make them responsible for watering and pruning them," Russell says.
Select plants that are fast-growing and stimulate the senses - particularly touch, taste and smell. Russell suggests planting flowers, vegies, herbs or a combination of all three, and opting for seedlings because children can watch them grow quickly.
"Ask them what they want to grow and take them to the nursery to choose their own plants," he says.
If you don't have large backyard but still want to teach your children about gardening, there are plenty of options. Pots are perfect for younger children because they can move them around. You could even decorate and fill an old polystyrene box or wheelbarrow with plants. It doubles as a lesson in recycling.
Russell suggests varying what you plant with the season to add variety to the garden and keep children interested all year round.
They should also be involved in watering, feeding and pruning plants, composting and mulching. Gardening is a great way to bring the generations together, especially if parents are too busy to spend time in the garden.
"Grandmas and uncles have a lot of knowledge and they know all the secrets (to success)," Russell says.
And growing fruit and vegies is a fun and sneaky way to add some new flavours to your child's diet. But never plant an entire vegetable garden in one go - everything will be ready to harvest at once and then the child will have to wait for more produce to grow.
The secret to a longer harvesting period and longer living plant to is pick often. The same can be said for many flowers.