One of the great things about the garden is that it’s miles away from the technology that distracts us inside the home.
It’s a great place for the family to reconnect with each other and with nature. Plus, there is nothing worse than a house full of kids complaining that they are bored.
So I’ve come up with some easy garden projects to do with the kids this summer.
How to plant up a container
You will need:
Large centrepiece plant
Get the kids to fill up the troughs with the compost. Use general-purpose compost for containers. Make a hole in the centre of the compost with your hands for the first plant.
Start with the centrepiece plant for structure. Pull the plastic pot off and put the plant in the hole. Try and plant the root ball to the right depth, so the top of it sits at the surface of the compost. Backfill with compost to cover the root ball.
Add smaller bedding plants around the outside for colour. You can buy these on trays for a range of colours to plant up a rainbow, or keep everything in one or two colours for a themed container.
Put the plants into the soil in the same way: make a small hole, bury the root ball and fill in any gaps with compost.
Press the compost down gently to hold everything in. My top tip is to try and leave an inch gap between the compost and the top of the container. If it’s too full, compost will spill out everywhere when you try and water it!
Move the containers into position before you water them. Deadhead the flowers of bedding plants to keep them producing more blooms.
The kids can watch their containers grow and continue to flower. And in autumn, you can replace the plants with evergreens and winter-flowering varieties.
Tip! You can also choose plants with fun scents like herbs, or plant soft fruit like strawberries among the flowers.
How to make fat balls for the birds
You will need:
This is a great project to make your own rich, tasty food for garden birds. Plus it’s a fun, messy job. Many fat ball or suet cake recipes need you to heat everything but this no-cook version is perfect to do with kids.
Give each child a bowl and put a blob of lard into it. Add muesli, dried fruit, mixed seeds or mixed bird feed. You should aim for one part lard to two parts feed.
Then get the kids to use their hands to mush everything together. Try to push the feed right through the lard until the two are really well mixed.
Shape the mixture into a ball. Push your thumbs into the top of the ball and gently break it in half. Add a loop of string in the middle and squish the ball back together. It should make a ‘bauble’ for the birds!
Hang the fat balls up on a tree or shrub for the birds. And make sure to provide a shallow dish of fresh water too for the birds to drink.
Tip! Put up bird boxes and nesting pouches to get birds to move into your garden.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.