Gardening with Children

School Zone

New Year Resolutions for:

Date Posted: 01 January 2016

 

Eating healthily

Caring for your environment

Being happy

 

1.  Grow your own food

It may be very easy and convenient buying fruit and vegetables from the shop, but how can we be sure that they are fresh, they might have been sat in a cold store for weeks. How do we know that they been grown in a healthy environment? Do they contain any chemicals? If these are some of your concerns, this year why not join the growing numbers of gardeners around the world and grow your own, that way you can choose how to grow, delicious, healthy crops that can be picked and eaten in minutes.

Wooden Raised Beds

Don't worry if you have not got a large garden or an allotment, crops can be easily grown in PotsWindow Boxes, Hanging Baskets orMangers/Grow Tables the ideal choice would be in Raised Beds which have many benefits:

-  Raised Beds are suitable for growing a wide variety of Soft Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, Alpines, Small Trees and Shrubs, they are available in different heights and sizes to fit practically any space.

-  Crops are grow at a height easily accessible to the young, elderly, those with restricted movement and wheelchair users.

-  Crops can be easily reached from both sides of the bed without walking on the soil, so there is no soil compaction meaning less digging and less work.

-  Raised Beds offer improved drainage which is good news for those that live in areas prone to flooding and also during prolonged wet weather.

-  If you live in an area that has poor soil you can fill your Raised Beds with imported good quality top soil and compost.

-  Crops can be planted earlier as the soil warms up faster, they are easy to cover with film, fleece or netting using cloche hoops andcloche clips to protect crops and promote growth.

Growing your own food is not a new trend; we have been doing it for thousands of years. 

2.  Recycle

Classic Triple Wooden Compost Bin

We are all encouraged to recycle our household waste as much as we can, paper and cardboard, plastic containers, glass bottles and jars and metal tins and cans as well as green waste, but could we recycle this green waste more efficiently and to our benefit? The answer is yes, you can turn your green waste into nutrient rich compost or ‘black gold’ in a Compost Bin which you can then dig into the garden to feed the soil, which will feed your crops, which in turn will feed yourself. Spring is the time to start your Compost Binthere are many different types to choose from, Wooden Compost Bins are sturdy, insulating and porous, add a duvet to retain the heat and a lid to keep out pets and unwanted pests, all you need to do is to add your waste which should be a mixture of:

Soft, Green, nitrogen-rich material

  • grass cuttings
  • soft prunings
  • annual plant and weed remains before they have set seed
  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • old cut flowers
  • tea bags and coffee grounds

and dry Brown, carbon-rich material

  • cardboard (torn up)
  • newspaper
  • paper bags and scrunched up paper
  • straw

Turn the contents regularly with a fork to thoroughly mix up and add water if it is dry.  

3.  Be environmentally friendly

Try to avoid using chemical fertilisers instead either use natural fertilisers made from seaweed, your own nutrient rich compost, or farmyard manure.

Use natural controls including Slug Gone (pictured above), Slug Traps and Nematodes for pests such as slugs, vine weevils, ants and aphids. Encourage and provide a home for their predators i.e. birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads who will in return keep them under control and create a balanced eco-system.

If you have a large lawn which uses a lot of petrol/electricity to mow why not consider leaving areas uncut to grow wild flowers?

Collect rainwater throughout the year in water butts; this will be invaluable during droughts and save you money if you have a water meter.

4.  Help and encourage wildlife

Wildlife World Urban Bird Feeder

Grow a selection of nectar rich flowers that will provide food for moths, butterflies and pollinating insects throughout the year. Allow a quiet corner to go wild to encourage wildlife, incorporate Bug and Insect HousesBird FeedersBird Boxes and Bird Baths as well asBat Boxes and Hedgehog Houses around the garden. Sow a wildflower meadow so that children can learn about our wonderful native wildflowers, this will also provide a valuable food source for insects. 

5.  Get outdoors and enjoy ‘your world’

School walk 1

Whether ‘outdoors’ means being in the garden, at your local park, on a walk, a day out or on holiday it doesn’t really matter, we are all surrounded by wonderful landscapes; fields and meadows, moorland and forests, lakes and rivers, hills and mountains and a stunning coastline of pebble or sand beaches and towering cliffs. In each of these landscapes you will find animals, birds and creatures that have made it their home as well as beautiful flowers, plants and trees. We all have busy lives especially if we have children, for their and your benefit this year make time to get outdoors to see and experience all that it has to offer whether it is once a week or once a month it is worth it.

 

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