Activities For Kids – Gardening Tips

how to garden for kids

Kids could do with some gardening tips from elders when playing outdoors, in mud. Take advantage of this fact and nurture in them, a deep love for plants, trees and nature. Teach kids all about planting a garden with seeds and saplings. Teach them a thing or two about landscaping with the help of beautiful miniature gardens.

Activities For Kids - gardening tips

Photo Credits: Woodleywonderworks

Gardening Tips For Kids

Garden Supplies

Get going with some basic garden supplies. You will need a spade, hand gloves, spray bottle, watering can, potting mix, seeds or saplings. Buy them from your local garden store or plant nursery.

Gardening Basics For Kids

Pick a nice sunny spot in your garden that is easy to bring water to. In case you do not have a garden, select a sunny spot by a window or in your balcony, where you can place your plant pot. Make sure your plant does not get too much of exposure from the sun. A spot facing south is the best. Let your child wear hand gloves. Next, teach him to prepare a potting mix with 1/3 parts compost , 1/3 parts of garden topsoil and 1/3 parts sand. This potting mix is healthy for plants and provides good drainage. Take a plant pot with holes at the bottom. Add your potting soil to this pot. Leave an inch of space from the top of the planter. Plant seeds or a saplings in this potting mix. Pour adequate water. Let kids learn more on self watering planters.

Green Gardening Tips

Reuse old plastic containers or small, old earthen pots with holes at the bottom, as planters. Use Organic fertilizers and  effective home made pesticides for gardens.  Inform your kids of the benefits of organic fertilizers and pesticides over chemical ones.

Landscaping With Miniature Gardens

gardening tips for kids - landscaping

Photo Credits: anacik

miniature gardens kids

Photo Credits:gregor_y

This is one of the top gardening tips that can teach kids how to landscape. Teach kids how to build miniature gardens. Use old wooden boxes, desk drawers, plastic trays or crates for the flower bed. Fill this with well drained potting soil. Plant saplings or seeds of flowering plants, wheat grass or ornamental plants. Allow kids to place attractive pebbles, stones and other embellishments to decorate and create pretty borders for this garden. A miniature garden is a great idea for small urban spaces where kids can build one in their balcony or even place it on wall stands. It is also an interesting DIY project for kids.

Garden Maintenance

Do not let your child get away, once he plants the saplings. Garden maintenance is an equally important gardening tip. Let kids use organic pesticides in spray bottles to keep insects and pests at bay. Make your own organic pesticide at home by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of Neem oil to one liter of warm water. Use a spray bottle to spray this pesticide on plants. Teach kids to add fertilizers to the soil in correct proportions, periodically, along with pruning and weeding, if necessary. Let kids maintain a plant growth chart. Make plant maintenance work, an attractive activity, by rewarding kids with something they like.

Benefits Of Gardening For Kids

Gardening is therapeutic in nature. It heals emotional wounds and inculcates patience in kids. These gardening tips for kids teach scientific facts and contribute to the overall development of your child.

Organic pesticides – Homemade pesticides for small gardens

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Organic pesticides are the best alternatives to harmful chemical pesticides for small gardens. Gardening in urban spaces means either you have a rooftop garden, a simple balcony garden, planters in your window sill  or indoor plants.  These pesticides are very effective in removing a scourge of garden pests and insects.

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Check out these super inexpensive and natural organic pesticides to bust harmful pests and insects in your home garden and indoor plants.

DIY – Organic Pesticides

Garlic-Onion-Pepper spray

Finely chop 6 cloves of  garlic along with a small onion. Add a liter of warm water. Keep it aside for 3-4 hours. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix well, strain and use as an insect repellent spray. Make sure you do not add liquid detergent. It must be liquid soap – You can use any liquid hand wash for the task.This will last you for a week, if refrigerated. Garlic – Onion – Pepper organic pesticide spray is an excellent remedy for aphids, flea beetles, caterpillars and other sucking/chewing insects.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a very powerful organic pesticide and repellent. When used alone, it does ward off pests but the plants get all oily. So mix 8ml neem oil and 5 ml liquid soap with 1 liter of warm water. Shake the spray bottle well. Spray this all over the plants. Neem oil is an excellent remedy for getting rid of spider mites, mealy bugs and practically most of the plant pests.

Basil Tea

Boil 1 cup of fresh basil (Tulsi leaves) in half a  liter  of water. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to this mixture. Spray this on the plants. This acts as an excellent homemade pesticide  for aphids.

Epsom Salt

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in  1/2 a liter of water. Spray this on the plants. Epsom salt does not harm the plants. It contains magnesium which is nutritious for the plants. This is an organic pesticide that also acts as a nutrient for the soil.

Baking soda spray

Mix together 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon oil and 2 liters of warm water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the plants. Baking soda gets rid of fungal infections of plants. Baking soda spray must be used regularly till the fungal infection is gone completely. The mixture has to be made fresh for every use.

Eucalyptus Oil

Put a  few drops of Eucalyptus oil on the affected areas of plants. It drives insects and pests away immediately. Eucalyptus oil is great for flies, slugs and aphids.

Dried Chrysanthemum flowers

Chrysanthemum flowers(guldaudi or chandramallika in hindi) have a natural pest repellent called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum plays havoc with the nervous system of insects. Boil 50 grams of  dried  chrysanthemum flowers in half a liter of water. Cool, strain and use as a spray. This can be used for a week. This homemade pesticide spray kills mosquito larvae breeding in your home garden or in the water collectors placed under flower pots.

Organic pesticides are the best for home gardens and indoor plants, especially in urban areas. They can be easily made at home, give instant results and come sans the harmful effects of chemical pesticides.

Note: For making small amounts of organic pesticides at home, just halve the proportions mentioned above.

 

Window Garden – DIY

Window garden - window sill garden - window herb garden
Adding a bit of green  to your living space, creates a calm and beautiful atmosphere at home. Window gardens are the best way to plant a garden in less space, especially when you live in apartments or condominiums. Planting organic window gardens are ideal for the aged, with mobility problems. Using window planters and flower pots, you can grow your very own kitchen  garden with organic herbs, medicinal plants, flowering plants. Learn how to garden with a window box suited to your window. All you need is a few basic garden supplies and planters.

Tips for a beautiful window garden

Plants shown in the picture above are basil or Tulsi, Murraya koenigii or curry leaves, yellow hibiscus and a few flowering plants to make your window garden look pretty. Basil, hibiscus and curry plant have medicinal properties and can be used in curing a variety of ailments. Of these, basil and curry leaves are used extensively for cooking.

Choose terracotta planters, as they are porous and allow the roots to breathe. Also, they do not retain too much of water and have good thermal properties. Use planters that are at least 6 inches to 12 inches deep. You may use individual containers or a single long container for 2 or 3 herbs planted together. Mix some organic fertilizer or organic compost to the potting soil. Add 2 inches thick layer of  this potting mix, place the plant over this. Fill in the remaining potting soil, firm it around the roots. The soil texture must be just right i.e. a proper mix of sand, clay and silt, properly aerated. Make sure you leave 2 inches space from the top of each planter for watering.

Ensure that you do not overcrowd your window with planters; this may block the view from your window. Leave some space in between the planters. In case of window grills, you can use a wrought iron or steel rod for hanging flowering shrubs from the top, as shown above. Ask for shrubs that do not grow tall and just trickle down the sides of the flower pots. You can even grow bougainvillaea, money plants etc. in hanging flower pots, keeping the growth in check by trimming the leaves periodically. Grow ginger, tomatoes, chillies and useful herbs this way.

Tips for choosing plants for your window garden

Select plants whose growth is suited to the available space. I planted yellow hibiscus for the medicinal properties of the flowers and leaves. Hibiscus flower tea taken internally lowers blood pressure and reduces bad cholesterol levels(LDL). Tea made of hibiscus leaves is an excellent conditioner for your hair and a good remedy for dandruff. However, the plant grows quite tall unless you prune the stems and leaves as and when required.

While selecting flowering shrubs, make sure you ask the expert at the local nursery, if the pollen or any part of the plant can be allergic to you.

Find out the watering requirements for each plant. Check whether they grow well or wilt in direct sunlight depending on the placement of your window w.r.t sunlight.

All said and done, give a green thumb to container gardening in your apartment windows that will be well appreciated by friends and guests alike. Plus, you also contribute to a greener urban environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Following these tips, you can also learn  how to garden for kids.