Monday, 28 March 2011

Potato Grass Heads, Children’s Plant Markers and Recycling Red Noses

Kids’ garden activities are now a routine part of most gardening events. So with a kidsinthegarden stall at our local seedy Sunday the childrens’ gardening activities fitted neatly with me.

By popular request potato head grass heads were on offer. If you have never created these creatures here’s how we did it.


10-12 inches of part of a pair of tights
Sawdust (from local pet shop)
Grass seed
Stick on eyes
Plastic cup

Tie one end of the tights and add a dessert spoon full of grass seed. Top up with sawdust to form oval face shape and tie at the bottom of head. Grass seed must to at the top of the head.  Create a face on the tights. Roll head in a saucer of water and keep damp. Within a couple of weeks, maybe less, a hairy grass top will show. Keep watering the grass and snip when necessary. It really is that easy.

The most popular gardening activity with the children was making plant markers, perhaps because of the immediate effect. For these I used:-

Small polystyrene balls (ping pong balls will also work)
Barbeque sticks
Drinking straws
Rubber bands to keep straw on sticks

Assemble and let the children create their own images (use waterproof pens). Planting in the garden is, of course, optional, but highly recommended. Children love to mark ownership of any seeds and plants they may have planted.

If you still have your red nose from red nose day why not recycle it.  It makes a lovely colourful plant marker.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

World Book Day: A Book to Inspire your Children to Garden

If I could only take one children's gardening book on to that desert island it would have to be 'Eddie's Garden and How to Make Things Grow' by Sarah Garland. It is a simple, homely and feel good story about a little boy growing vegetables and flowers with his family. It has held the attention of my 6 year old for the last 3 years and there is still more staying power in it.

Give your child their own plot of earth, let them dig and plant their own seeds and any child will identify with Eddie. What helps Eddie's garden to grow? Your little ones may well be able to answer that question and you certainly will because you will be reading it to them lots of time.

The story involves 3 generations of the same family. A nice touch as grandparents often help with nurturing those little green fingers. The illustrations include colourful characters from the garden. The ubiquitous robin always around when digging is on the go, wriggly worms and those evil snails. Eddie himself is inspired by the story of Jack and the Bean Stalk.

There is a useful list of Eddie's plants of 12 vegetables and edible flowers, with brief growing instructions. It is a great starter gardening book.

If you only read your children one book about gardening let it be this one. This is the time of year to get growing and sowing and this is the ideal book to read with your kids.
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