Shoots, Roots and Harvesting Beetroots
Are you a green-fingered garden lover, or more inclined to put your feet up on the deck? We’re a bit of both at Cosy, but we know well that getting out and growing things in the garden is such a wonderful activity. Benefits of gardening with little ones are varied, from observing change over time and the sensory fun that comes with digging and growing to developing a respect for the earth and promoting physical development. As the weather warms up, we’re coming into prime planting season, so today we thought we’d share our top tips for getting little ones involved with the planting, taking care of our crops and harvesting! We’ve split this into difficulty levels of ‘beginners’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘pros’ - or little shoots, growing vines and big harvests!
Start your own planter
A great place to start in the gardening world is filling your very own planter. We have a huge variety of shapes, sizes and layouts of planters at Cosy, so you’re sure to find the right fit for your outdoor space. Planters offer a straightforward specific plot to work from so can definitely limit the overwhelm that new gardeners might feel when faced with a big bunch of land ready for planting! You might fill your planter with flowers, or natural herbs (lavender and mint are hardy and grow rapidly) or perhaps something edible. Easy edible plants to grow in shallow planters are salad based plants like lettuce and rocket, while opting for a deeper planter opens up possibilities to root based vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
Limited on green space or wanting some quick but still exciting wins? Balcony gardening is just the ticket! Little ones will love seeing how magically plants can crop up in the smallest of spaces. A great choice here would be tomatoes, as you can maximise your space vertically rather than the usual horizontal plots in a classic garden space. Jazz things with up colourful pots and child sized watering cans.
Grow your own salad
A wonderful way to build confidence in budding gardeners is gardening with a really specific purpose in place. We think creating a salad from soil to table is just the right thing. Why don't you read ‘Oliver’s Vegetables’ with your little ones and do some research together on what salad ingredients are currently in season. Then get to planting! Create a full garden space that includes lettuce, tomatoes, perhaps grateable root vegetables like beetroots and carrots, and even your own herbs. When everything is fully grown, make a full day or theme of harvesting the produce, then washing and preparing it, and having salad for lunch! If you have a cook or chef at your setting, it would be wonderful to get them involved in the process too. They will likely have plenty of skills to share with your little ones, and it will really help build on a sense of community in your setting.
Herb garden for cooking and sensory play
A fairly straightforward initial planting can create a truly vibrant and magically purposeful garden! Work with your little ones to plant seasonal herbs in spots like our Vertical Herb Planter with crops such as lavender, mint, basil, coriander, parsley, and regularly tend to them. The great thing about herbs is that they can easily be planted fully grown, meaning there are really quick rewards. Herbs can be used in all sorts of sensory play, like botanical water trays and mud kitchen potion making, so little ones can see the immediate purpose of their hard work. Equally, if you have on-site catering, your cooking staff can make use of the herbs too, adding a sense of contribution for little folk.
Colours of the rainbow
Nothing says gardening magic like a rainbow coloured plot! Why not design your gardening plot to flow in the colours of the rainbow? Research colourful crops with your little ones and create seasonal rainbow gradients in one plot, or perhaps have several planters for yellow, green, red, purple and blue plants! These will make wonderful prompts for creating sensory paint and water trays too.
Set up a seasonal plot in your outdoor space
Kit your little gardening team with our Cosy Complete Gardening Kit and take on a big project like seasonal growing! Work with your cohort to plan out across the school year what they can plant in each half term, when these can be harvested, and what they can be used for. This is a big project that can easily fill a school year with plenty of nature themed spin-off provision ideas, so there’s plenty to be working with!
Whether you’re just starting out or are keen for a big project, we hope our ideas have inspired you to get your green fingers moving!
We hope that you have got lots of ideas to take away from our Gardening post.
Don’t forget to share your gardening activities with us on our social channels!