Gardening is one of the most rewarding outdoor activities for kids. Not only does it get them outside in the fresh air, learning about the natural world around them, but it also teaches them about responsibility and routines.
Of course, you might be a bit of a green fingers yourself, but that’s no guarantee your little one will follow in your footsteps. So what kinds of gardening ideas for children will have your kids routinely weeding, watering, and treating their plants with care?
Gardening Activities for Children
The sunny days in Spring and Summer are a perfect time to get outdoors planting with children; but city kids can get in on the action too! One great idea is to give your budding gardener their own patch of land or a large container of earth to experiment with.
Let your kid plan what and where they’ll grow plants – take them to a gardening store to get advice and buy all the materials they’ll need. Though you might find any initial excitement may wear off after a few weeks, ensuring their gardening efforts are physically productive will help.
If you encourage your kids to nurture fruit and vegetables there’s a greater chance that their hard work will continue and pay off.
Growing Potatoes in Containers
Freshly dug baby potatoes are delicious and make for a great accompaniment to any summer salad or meal. And what kid doesn’t like homemade chips? Potatoes are incredibly easy to grow and although conventionally, they’re usually found in wide outdoor vegetable patches, they can equally be grown in containers at home.
You’ll still need quite a large container to grow potatoes, but there are lots of fun ways you can recycle common household objects for this purpose. You could use, for example, an old baby bath, a plastic or hessian shopping bag, a bucket, an old sink, or even an aquarium (this is great because you get to see the roots growing through the glass!).
Whatever you decide to use make sure it’s fairly deep and there are drainage holes in the bottom, so that excess water doesn’t pool and rot the plants your kids have carefully nurtured so far!
Chitting your Potatoes
In addition to the container, you will need seed potatoes (available from any garden store), an egg box, and eventually some soil. Before you get planting, you need to let your seed potatoes sprout a bit, so that they produce lots of lovely vegetables for you to harvest when the time is right. This process is called chitting. You should:
- Choose the seed potatoes with the most ‘eyes’ and place them ‘face up’ in the egg box.
- Leave the potatoes alone until they start growing leaves.
- Pot-up the potatoes, by placing them at the bottom of your container and then cover them with earth, (top the soil up regularly as the potato plants grow).
- Place the container in a sunny place to be sure your potatoes will get enough light to grow.
When to Harvest Potatoes
If you’ve planted your potatoes in early spring, they should be ready to harvest by early summer. By this time they will have developed large plants above the surface. You should be careful not to water the potatoes too regularly.
You’ll know it’s time to harvest your potatoes once they’ve flowered and the plants start to wither and die. Then, you can simply turn out the container to pick out all the lovely potatoes that have been growing below!
Other Potato Activities
If your kids are still curious about how potatoes grow why not set up a potato maze like the one described here. You could even use the potatoes you grow to make paint stampers for your toddler, a fun and messy activity!
However you decide to have potato fun, rest assured Persil’s got you covered when it comes to tackling any nasty stains. Just check out our handy tips here.