Get grubby, get gardening!

June 7, 2009 at 10:27 am | Posted in General Advice, Summer Holiday Must Haves | 1 Comment
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Michelle Obama recently inspired new interest in getting outdoors and tending the garden.  A vegetable patch is a brilliant way of getting children in to all things green fingered.


I remember a very undignified trip to the local pick your own farm, 7 months pregnant, accompanied by a friend also with bump, who was actually due to drop that day.  We had intended to pick strawberries but opted to buy a punnet on realising we couldn’t actually get down on to the ground.  Oh to have fresh fruit and vegetables to pick in our own garden.

Not sure where to start?!  Caroline Blatchford of Spotty Boxes gives us some helping pointers:

Tips on starting your own vegetable patch 

  • Start with something which grows quickly.  Children like to see fast results so growing cress, radishes and lettuces alongside crops which take longer to develop will help to keep their interest.
  • If you do not already have a vegetable patch, using patio containers is an easy way to get started with your children without the need to spend days digging.  Many vegetables such as peas, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes will thrive in containers provided that they are watered regularly.  They also take up little room and enable you to grow vegetables in the smallest of gardens or even on a balcony.
  • Avoid disappointment by remembering to put netting over fruit to keep the birds off and use child friendly ways to protect plants from slugs.
  • Use old clothes so you don’t have to worry about the mud.  Gardens always have plenty of dirt!
  • Giving them a child their own space or container in the garden increases their sense of responsibility and ownership.  When the produce is ready to eat, they will burst with pride as everyone sits down for a meal with “Alfie’s peas”.

What is easy to plant/grow?


Beans (dwarf French beans and dwarf runner beans)






What are children likely to eat?

 Children generally love eating things which they have grown themselves.  The more they have been involved the more likely they are to eat them.  So resist the temptation to let the children do the planting and then take on the watering etc. yourself.  In particular make sure that the children harvest crops themselves.

Eating food which you have grown as soon as you have picked it is particularly exciting.  So vegetables or fruit which you can eat raw are ideal.  Carrots, peas, lettuce, strawberries and cress all tick the box in this respect.

What should be planted in June/July/August? 

Vegetable/Fruit Sowing Harvest
Carrots Feb – July May – October
Peas March – June June – September
Lettuce March – July June – October
Spring Onions March – July June – October
Radish March – July April – September
Beetroot March – July June – October
Turnip March – August June – November
Outdoor Tomatoes (plants) Late May/Early June August/September


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  1. […] have the right tools!  Spotty Boxes recently helped us with some great tips and advice on gardening for beginners, and with these great pint sized gardening gadgets, you’ll be ready to go (or […]

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