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Top 5 crops for children

Get your children or grandchildren involved with gardening from an early age and share their joy as they grow  their minds and their crops.

Although there are many crops suitable for the young gardener, here are our “top 5” these crops are relatively easy to grow, have short growing season and are fun to harvest.

With children it is best to grow from seed to allow them the full experience and learn all the steps of life, in our climate this will require a small growhouse or small poly tunnel. Get them as involved as possible in the process not allowing them to miss a single sprouting seen or harvest.

Sunflower

A must for a child’s garden. they take a lot of rooms plant just one or two. Sunflowers will sprout in 1 week, become a small seedling in 2 weeks, within a month they should be 2ft tall. After 8 weeks, buds will flower revealing hundreds of seeds. Make sure to sow an edible variety and in the late summer the seeds will become ripe and ready to harvest. Sunflower seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack. Experiment and save a few seeds to plant next summer.

Lettuce

A quick and reliable crop to give children fast results, and a great wayget children eating healthy. Lettuce grows best in partial shade, ensure to keep soil moist especially during the first two weeks and in dry spells. The seeds will germinate in 7-10 days and growing season is 40-50 days.

Cherry tomatoes

A great crop for a child to grow as the sweet fruit is a great healthy snack for children . Plant seed in a grow house in a warm position in full sun and when mature to seedlings place a bamboo cane alongside for support as they grow tie loosely to cane as they get taller. Keep the compost wet at all times being careful not to over water or under water and feed with a diluted tomato feed every 7-10 days. Growing season is 50-75 days to ripe tomatoes.

Potatoes

Potatoes are relatively easy to grow for vegetable gardening with children. Pick up some seed potatoes from us in store in stock from March for summer potatoes and from August for winter potatoes. Half or quarter the seed potatoes making sure there is 1-2 eyes on each piece.  Then let them sit in a paper bag for a couple days so that their cuts heal over this reduces the chance of the potatoes rotting in the ground. After a few days plant them cut side down, about a foot apart and 6 inches deep in good loose soil which may have been mixed with a vegetable growing compost or farmyard manure, you can plant in the ground or in large tubs providing it has the appropriate volume. Water when required every 2-3 days and mound soil around base of plant. After 12 weeks the potatoes will be ready for digging, this is the most fun for children and let them at it they will get filthy but have a great time in the process.

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are an easy to grow edible flower which and yield results quickly, and this greatly encourages the young gardener. Nasturtiums bloom about 50-60 days after the seeds are planted, with orange, yellow and red flowers. They prefer sunny, dry locations and do well in poor soil. Choose the shorter varieties for garden beds. Nasturtiums are also pest resistant, which ensures a successful planting. The flowers are also edible, and can be used to add colour to a fresh garden salad.

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