How to turn your children into green-fingered geniuses

Although it might not seem like it, Spring is on its way and there’s no better time to introduce your children to the joys of gardening. It’s a really fun and productive way to spend time outside and, if they get the gardening bug now, it’s a hobby that may stay with them forever.

There are also so many good lessons to be learned from it as an activity, and that’s why schools are also starting to have their own little plots where the children can discover more about where food comes from and what plants need to grow healthy and strong.

Of course, in London not everyone’s lucky enough to have their own garden or, if they do, it may be very small; so perhaps one of the first considerations would be to move to a home that does have a big enough garden. This might be a question of relocating to a slightly cheaper area or seeing if a home nearby with more outdoor space could be within your budget. If you’re doing the latter, make sure to do a mortgage comparison. With mortgage rates low and competition fierce between lenders to attract more borrowers at the moment, you might be surprised by what you can afford.

The most important aspect of encouraging children to be interested in gardening is to get them involved from the very start. Talk to them about what they’d like to grow – and if they ask for fruits like bananas or mangos this would be a great way to start explaining that not everywhere can grow every kind of plant.

Gently steer them towards plants and flowers that are easy to grow, maybe starting them off with herbs, mustard, and cress that you can pop on the kitchen windowsill and where they’ll soon see the rewards of their efforts.

When it’s time to head outside, make sure that they know that there’s a patch that’s all their own and plant some of the seeds and plants that the RHS recommends. You could even build on this new-found fascination with the soil by making their bedtime reading tie in with what they’re hoping to grow.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a very obvious choice – but it might be a bit too ambitious to grow everything eaten in the book. Maybe try The Enormous Turnip or James and the Giant Peach instead, and really fire their imagination by waiting to see if they can grow one that big as well.

Another great idea is to grow a “vegetable pizza”. Mark out a metre-wide circle in their veg patch and divide it into four segments. Plant a different pizza “topping” in each segment, for example, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and basil. Then, when they’re ready to harvest, make a real pizza using them!

Follow these few steps and, before long, you should have some very keen little gardeners on your hands. And they won’t just be having fun; by carefully choosing what they’re going to be growing you’ll cut down on food bills too!

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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