As much as us parents would like our children to jump straight in and love gardening, it’s not always the case. Some kids need lots of encouragement and some quick, easy ideas to help spark their interest in gardening.
Of my four children, only two of them have naturally been drawn to the pleasure that gardening can bring. The other two needed a gentle push along the way. And two plants in particular have assisted my family over the years – geraniums and cherry tomatoes.
Both of these plants are super easy to grow and kids get a real thrill from successful gardening experiences.
Geraniums are an old fashioned plant that were probably flowering in your Grandmother’s garden. They are making a comeback and are now available in many colours and varieties. But the best part about geraniums is how easy they are to grow.
Simply take a cutting from a healthy plant and remove all flowers and all but two or three leaves. Ideally, the cutting should be about 10cm long. The place where the leaves were cut from the stalk is called a node and this is where the roots of the new plant will grow. The cutting can then be placed into a glass of water until it grows roots or it can be planted directly into the ground. Either way, make sure that there are several nodes underwater or in the ground for the new roots to grow.
When propagating geraniums with the kids, I always plant more cuttings than I need, this will limit the disappointment if they don’t take.
Cherry Tomatoes come up every year in unexpected places around our garden. They produce so much fruit that there is always an ample amount that doesn’t make it into the kitchen or straight into the mouths of hungry little green thumbs! Thus ensuring that seeds are distributed for the next Spring.
The humble cherry tomato has inspired all my kids to grow their own food.
To start your own cherry tomato patch, simply plant some seeds or a seedling or two, usually in Spring or early Summer. Tomatoes like lots of sun and need to be watered during dry periods.