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Gardening with children: sowing seeds with Mary Hamblyn

Gardening with children: sowing seeds with Mary Hamblyn

Seed sowing is a fantastic activity for little-ones. It€™s especially fun if grown-ups Don't interfere too much. My three year old has been sowing cosmos and peas this week. Cosmos produce tonnes of cheerful daisy-like flowers in the summertime and can last until the nights start getting frosty. They are perfect for picking and giving to Granny or arranging in a jam-jar. There are lots of different varieties and colours, and they can cope in a pot if you haven€™t got room to turn them out into the garden. The seeds are long and thin €“ like a grain of wild rice. A three year old can manage them happily, and a dexterous two year old would probably do just fine as well. cosmos - perfect for plonking in a jamjar Pea seeds are large enough for even the youngest of toddlers to handle. They germinate quickly, and what better introduction to grow-your-own than sweet, freshly-picked peas eaten straight from the pod. We chose Tom Thumb, a dwarf variety that can be grown in pots and doesn't need to be staked €“ ideal for small gardens and small gardeners alike. freshly picked peas Sowing station With a bit of planning you can set up a sowing station that gives kids the freedom to do everything themselves without causing too much mayhem. This is a great confidence builder and makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone. seed sowing station Our sowing station had:
  1. a small bucket of seed compost (just because we had some kicking around €“ general multi-purpose would do)
  2. mini tools (trowel and fork)
  3. a stool for a work bench
  4. Twigz mini greenhouse (a windowsill-size propagator with biodegradable pots)
  5. A watering can (only part full; what pre-schooler can resist emptying a whole can?)
I kept the seeds in my pocket until they were needed and just gave my daughter the gentlest of guidance as she worked. Sure enough she over-watered them, but no harm was done. one pea per pot With a bit of luck and tender loving care they€™ll be ready to plant outside soon. Come back in a few weeks and we€™ll let you know how they€™re doing. Tips
  • Most seeds need warmth, moisture and light to germinate. If it is cool outside, pop them on a sunny windowsill.
  • A propagator or mini greenhouse is good for speeding things up or protecting young seedlings from heavy rain €“ but Don't leave the lid on too much once they€™re growing or they€™ll get lanky and weak.
  • There are lots of good seeds for little-ones to grow. Here are just a few: sweetcorn, beans, pumpkins, sweet peas, nasturtiums, clarkia and, of course, sun flowers!
  • Taking a hands-off approach is great a way to instil a love gardening €“ but if your children are very young make sure you€™re nearby to stop them putting anything in their mouths (or up their noses€¦)
You can find out more about Mary and her garden at www.brookendcottagegarden.com. Subscribe to our blog to keep up to date with Mary€™s advice/tips and know how.

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