Encourage Your Kids To Garden

Encourage Your Kids To Garden

Gardening is a terrific way to get children involved with nature. It has the power to teach kids about the beauty of flowers and vegetables, whilst also teaching them valuable life lessons like patience and self-confidence. It equips them with critical skills that can help them in other areas of their lives.

Below are some of the main benefits children can experience by helping in the garden.

Engage all the senses

With gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt, seeds, flowers and leaves, see the vibrant colours and varied sizes of the plants, hear the sound of the vegetable when it’s taken from the plant, and smell the amazing scents of the flowers. Allowing all the senses to be involved helps kids understand and grasp the concept of gardening and, in turn, teaches them to appreciate nature.

Encourage healthy eating

Getting children to eat their fruits and vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. When they are involved in every step of the process, however, they gain an interest in eating them too. Even the pickiest eaters won’t be able to resist trying veggies they’ve grown themselves!

Enhances fine motor development

Gardening and fine motor skills go hand-in-hand. In the garden, children must move around a lot to tackle tasks like watering, fertilising, pruning, digging, weeding and bending. As kids do these tasks, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.

Develop social skills

Gardening can be a very sociable activity, especially in schools. Children can learn to work together and will enjoy discussing different types of flowers and plants, and the process they have carried out to plant their seeds. Gardening presents wonderful opportunities for children to bond and help each other look after and nurture their plants.

Teach responsibility and patience

Kids learn that they must take care of their seeds each day for them to grow into healthy plants. They will quickly learn they get out what they put in; if the plants aren’t regularly watered and taken care of, they won’t flourish.

Gardening is a great way to teach responsibility, but it is no overnight process. Kids are used to immediate gratification; however, gardening is often a slow process. They must learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow.

Enhance the ability to plan and organise

For those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organising a garden can be time consuming and somewhat of an art form. You must know which flowers bloom during whoch time of year, how long it takes a seed to turn into a vegetable and when is the best time to plant your seeds.

Involving kids in this process helps increase their planning and problem-solving skills. It also enhances their organisational strategies, which can be carried over to every facet of life!

Highlight the importance of taking care of the environment

When children garden, they realise how important it is to take care of the Earth if they want their garden to grow and produce healthy plants. It creates the perfect opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.

There are so many activities you could try with your kids, to get them back into nature. Plantland has a cool Little Seedling club that you can sign up to, which sends you a box filled with gardening goodies each month, for you as a family to enjoy!

It is important to get our kids back into nature for a healthier and happier home.

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Winter Herbs To Grow Right Now

Winter Herbs To Grow Right Now

Herbs are the quickest, simplest, and tastiest way to elevate your dinners from ordinary to mind-blowing. They are even more vital in winter when hearty roasts and homey veggies need a sprig of rosemary or a topping of parsley to bring a meal together. Unfortunately, as gardeners know, there are few plants that grow well in areas with cold South African winters, but luckily, there are several herbs on that list. While they won’t grow exceptionally quickly, and you may have to watch how much you harvest, these herbs are ready to withstand winter weather and keep your kitchen stocked all season long.

Thyme

Thyme is a kitchen classic and an essential part of any herb garden. Its pleasant savoury flavour is ideal for soups, roasts, or vegetables. We even added some thyme to our cupcakes to balance the sweetness and sour lemon in this video:

There are many thyme fragrances to choose from, including lemon-scented thyme which is ideal for winter cold-fighting teas. As a Mediterranean plant, it thrives in full sun and high heat, but will hold out over winter with some protection from frost. Place a frost cover over the plant in extremely cold weather so you can continue sneakily harvesting under the blanket over winter. Be sure not to harvest more than one-third of the plant and it will be sure to grow back come springtime.

Sage

Drought and frost resistant, sage is the ideal cold-hardy herb. In fact, sage thrives in a range of conditions, including in poor soil. Grow it in a full sun position almost anywhere in your garden and it will be happy. Plus, you’ll be happy to have a consistent supply of sage in your kitchen. The fresh fragrance is ideal for chicken stuffing or pasta sauces. Any sore throats from winter ailments can also be kept at bay with a sage tea – steep some dried leaves in boiling water, add a pinch of salt, and gargle every few hours.

Mint

Mint is known for being aggressive. With the right care, it will continue that trend – even in cold weather. While the tops will eventually die back in very cold weather, in most regions of South Africa it will hold out and you can continue your harvest all year long. Mint is a great addition to the classic cold-fighting drink, hot toddy. Alternatively, throw a few leaves in some boiling water on their own for a refreshing, garden-brewed tea.

Rosemary

Like thyme, rosemary is a winter kitchen staple. Its savoury aroma is synonymous with cold weather – just the sight of rosemary is likely to trigger memories of traditional winter roasts and flickering fires. Rosemary can withstand cold weather with some protection provided, as long as it remains in a full-sun position throughout the day. While frost-hardy, it doesn’t grow as vigorously in winter as it does in spring. A light hand in harvesting is essential to keep the plant healthy until growing starts up again.

Stock your kitchen cabinets (and your medicine cabinets) with these essential winter herbs harvested straight from your garden. They are sure to make the cold, gloomy winter months in the garden far more bearable.