Easter activity: gardening with your children

Watch your garden grow this Easter.

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The bitter months of winter have finally come to an end and it is time to welcome the bees back from their frosty winter snooze. Daffodils and tulips have finally heralded the arrival of spring and youthful fountains of greenery are sprouting all around the classroom.

Earthworms are back and the woodpeckers are drumming, it is time to leave the tiddlywinks inside and start gardening. This Easter begin planting with your children and watch them learn about the different plant and food types. Children of today are not encouraged to explore the world of nature enough, but when given the chance they all enjoy outside independent adventures such as sowing seeds, planting vegetables and picking fruits. March especially is the perfect month to plant potatoes and other vegetables and taste the earthy flavour of your own home grown produce. The Easter school break lends itself to all kinds of gardening opportunities, whether it’s Gardening Club at school or the garden of your own home, it’s time to begin planting.

Pinewood School in Wiltshire are head of the game and have been busy with potato planting this season. Each year every child in the Pre-Prep takes part in the ‘Potato Challenge’ and enjoys planting, growing, harvesting and eating their potatoes. Younger children learn to wait patiently for the potatoes to produce enough shoots to ‘chit’, then to place them in special bags, waiting for signs of growth while also learning about the importance of water and light to make the potatoes grow. The experiences learned from gardening are cross-curricular; numeracy and literacy, presentation and interaction with others, as well as an increased sense of responsibility, self-esteem and confidence.

It’s time to watch the blackthorn blossom unfurl, step into the garden and let the magic begin.

Where to start

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  • Decide what it is that you wish to plant, whether you wish to generate a flower garden, a herb plot or even a bountiful vegetable patch.
  • Pick a suitable place in the garden to begin your planting. Most flowers and vegetables need at least seven to eight hours of sunlight per day. As a result you will need to choose an area in the garden that receives the most sunlight.
  • Harvest the plot and prepare the soil. You might need to start with some weeding and add some fresh soil to the ground if the condition is frail. Be sure to avoid planting near trees as they will fight for moisture.
  • It is time to begin planting. Whether you wish to brighten up the garden with daylilies, marigolds, or pansies it is important to read the instructions on the packet and plant the seeds carefully. If you are ready for the challenge of a vegetable patch, the best vegetables to begin with are potatoes, tomatoes, broad beans, courgettes and lettuce. Lettuces and sunflowers are particularly easy to grow from seed; you can sow them directly in the garden. An easier method is to buy young plants and just dig a hole and place them carefully in the ground.
  • Remember to water them and watch the spells of sun and rain bring life to the seeds you have planted. You cannot always rely on April showers so remember to fill your watering can each day.
  • In time you will see that gardening is one of the most wonderful hobbies and will spark curiosity in your child. It teaches patience and enlightens their understanding of the food they eat and where it comes from. It demonstrates the great importance of seasonality and the time that is put into the growth of the food they eat. No season like spring encourages you to try out something new.

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