A weedy, gravelly mess of garden bed has been sitting near my clothesline for a very long time, just waiting for some kids to give it a little love. Last week was the week! There was no need to rush, and the kids enjoyed spreading the project out over a few days. Besides – in the heat of summer it’s hard to stay in the yard for too long. Here’s how you and your kids can have fun transforming a section of your garden in under a week, including a craft activity and an outing!
Day 1 – Digging
We had to enlist SquiggleDad’s help for this as there were some tangled old roots that required digging out. Both kids enjoyed helping Daddy with their little garden tools. We sang songs like, “Dig, dig, dig like a wombat” and “I take my shovel and I dig, dig, dig…” as we worked. (Well, the kids and I sang and Daddy laughed at us!)
Day 2 – New Soil
I try to remember to use the term “soil” rather than “dirt”. We compared the soil that was in the existing garden bed with the new bags of soil. We talked about worms, and nutrients, and what plants need to be healthy and strong. The kids spread the new soil out evenly, and one even thought he might have a little taste…
Day 3 – Nursery Trip
We let Little Miss 3 choose the plants she wanted for the garden. Apart from pumpkin (which we said no to) her choices were very good! She picked lettuces for salad, strawberries for yummy treats and basil, cherry tomato and capsicum for making pizzas. I think spending time in Nanna’s garden, and watching Dirt Girl on ABC Kids steered her towards these edible choices. (Read more about our trip to the nursery here.)
Day 4 – Planting
We talked about which plants would grow tall and be better at the back of the garden bed, and which ones should be near the front. I showed my daughter how to remove the plants from their punnets, taking care not to break the stalk or damage the roots. We dug little holes for them and firmly planted them in. Then it was time for their first watering. My son mostly watered his own feet!
Day 5 – Mulching
Spreading sugar cane mulch out around the plants was a simple job and the kids completed the task pretty much independently. My son buried a few plants under mulch, but we uncovered them and gave them all another good water.
Day 6 – Plant Signs
To make signs for our plants I picked up some inexpensive mdf coasters and a piece of dowel from a craft shop. The whole lot was less than $5. I put a piece of masking tape in the centre of each coaster to leave room for writing the corresponding plant name, and then let my daughter paint away. She chose colours to match each plant (red for strawberries, yellow for capsicum, etc) which I thought was fabulous. When dry, we glued a piece of dowel to the back, removed the tape and wrote the plant name on the front. They won’t last forever, but neither will the plants so I’m ok with that.
Day 7 – Decorating
We added a few finishing touches to the garden, like this cool outdoor sculpture of a girl, and a sign saying “Kids’ Garden – no grownups allowed”. This space is for my children and I’m happy for them to decorate it however they’d like to. Though I must say I’m not fussed on gnomes…!