Primary School Children Encouraged to Get Growing
A social enterprise in Lisburn in Northern Ireland has joined forces with an organic materials recycling firm and a potato company to launch an initiative encouraging primary school kids to grow their own produce.
Kinder Garden Cooks, along with Natural World Products (NWP) and Patch Seed Potatoes have collaborated to give 280 pupils a bag of New Leaf Compost from NWP (made from local household food and garden waste) and a newly-bred purple seed potato from Patch Seed Potatoes.
The owner of Kinder Garden Cooks, Sharon McMaster, said that the initiative will help children learn about growing food and help schools to develop outdoor spaces for horticultural use.
The Chief Executive of NWP said it was delighted to partner with Kinder Garden Cooks to support the scheme and added that it was satisfying that the children will be growing potatoes in the compost that has been generated from local food and garden waste.
Could you get your kids excited about growing vegetables?
Spring is here and you might be thinking about venturing into the garden. Why not let the kids tag along and start growing your own produce as a family? Encouraging kids to grow vegetables helps them:
- Become more adventurous about what they eat-they’re more likely to want to eat something that they’ve grown with their own two hands.
- Take more of an interest in nature.
- Learn about how things grow.
Growing vegetables with kids-where to start
Kids will enjoy growing things that grow fast (they can be impatient, in case you haven’t noticed), things that are easy to grow, and things that look nice as they grow, so a good place to start is with growing vegetables like cherry tomatoes which are delicious in salads and on homemade pizzas!
How to grow cherry tomatoes
What you’ll need:
- A plant pot
- Multipurpose compost
- Cherry tomato seedlings
- A seed tray
- Gardening gloves
- A trowel
- A fork
How to grow them:
Plant your seeds in the compost in the seedling tray. They should start to sprout within a few weeks.
Once a few leaves appear, transfer the seedlings into a pot. To do this, lift it very carefully with a pencil and scoop it out into the pot.
April is a good time to do this, so it’s perfect timing! As the seedling grows, keep transferring it into bigger pots until you are using a 12-inch pot.
You can grow cherry tomato plants indoors on your windowsill or outdoors on a balcony.
How to keep kids interested in growing vegetables
Kids have notoriously short attention spans at the best of times, so what are the best ways to keep them interested in their new green-fingered pursuit?
- Give them jobs-kids love to feel part of things so ask them to pull weeds or fetch things for you.
- Let them touch the soil-this is one time where you shouldn’t be too concerned about them getting their hands dirty.
- Let them plant seeds, though this might not be a task for very small children in case they try to eat them!
- Encourage them to decorate the plant pots
- Get creative and help them make things like butterfly houses and bird feeders. Kids will love the idea that they are doing something to help wildlife. The Woodland Trust has some great step by step guides.
Other vegetables you should consider growing with kids
Once they’ve mastered the cherry tomatoes, you can try your hand at strawberries, peas, carrots, and herbs like basil and mint. When they taste what they’ve grown, there’ll be no more fussy eaters in your house, just green-fingered nature lovers (hopefully!)
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