The little green thumb!

 

The little green thumb!

It's Time To Get The Tiny Tots To Know Where Their Beets And berries Are Coming From. And, No, It Is Not The Supermarket...

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Published: Wed 16 Aug 2017, 6:39 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Aug 2017, 6:12 PM

Looking for a way to keep your child constructively occupied this summer holidays? While summer camps and workshops are a great option, you could also consider starting a mini kitchen or balcony garden with your little one. Gardening with kids is filled with exploration, education and fun; allowing them to experience things first hand and participate in active learning. Working with plants inspires creativity, develops nurturing skills and empowers kids to make choices, thus giving them a sense of pride in their accomplishment.  

Further, this could also help with picky eaters' who would usually not mind trying a vegetable they've grown and harvested themselves. A new study shows that children who spend time in the garden develop a love for fruits and vegetables. Teach a kid to grow a carrot, she will probably eat more of them!

It is never too early or too late to start planting. Kids are natural gardeners so the younger you start the better it is. Children as young as preschool age are thrilled to get their hands messy with soil, plant a seed and watch their baby plants sprout and turn into big plants.

Let your child have a say in which plants should be planted and involve them in creating gardening plans. Play around with colourful pots and planters, use various gardening tools and make it a fun filled experience for your little one and you. Planting, designing and maintaining a garden gives children a sense of responsibility, while growing and harvesting the food they have planted help them develop healthy eating habits. And not to forget, this is the best way to indulge in some constructive fun, play and have a few laughs with your child.
We suggest a few kid-friendly edible greens that are easy to sow and fun to grow.
Growing a fruit and vegetables garden with children can make both gardening and parenting more rewarding. You will suddenly see your children, who previously wrinkled their noses at fruits and vegetable, wanting to try some because they have helped you grow it. Begin with these easy-to-grow kid pleasing fruits and vegetable and encourage your little ones to take their first steps towards a healthy living!
What is your child's favourite fruit or vegetable to grow this summer?
STRAWBERRIES
Who doesn't love strawberries? It's fun to grow for children and the good news is, generally the strawberries you grow at home are sweeter than the ones you buy at the store.
Tips for the little green thumb: During summer place your strawberry plant indoors near a window receiving direct sunlight. You can then shift the plant outdoors as it starts getting cooler. The kids can enjoy looking for baby strawberries underneath the leaves starting Nov/Dec.
TOMATO
Tomatoes are a great veggie for kids to grow, as they don't require much space and can be grown in a garden or balcony. They'll take a couple of months to grow, but once they're ready, they produce plenty to pick for snacks, salads and sauces! Tips for the little green thumb: Tomatoes love moisture and sunlight so make sure you place your plant in a bright sunny area and water the soil rather than the leaves. Also note, the soil should be kept moist but not wet.
HERBS
These are the most versatile plants in the garden and therefore make terrific first plants for a child. Growing herbs is a wonderful way for children to learn about gardening owing to their varied aromas, taste and texture. Most herbs are quick to grow and flourish with little care. Tips for the little green thumb: When planting herbs together in the same pot, remember to keep the 'wet' and 'dry' herbs separate. This will make it easier to maintain the right conditions, for each of your herb group. Wet herbs like mint, thyme, lemon grass will need to be watered more often as compared to dry herbs like rosemary, lavender, oregano and basil.
CUCUMBER
Did you know that cucumbers are categorised as a fruit and not a vegetable. Consisting of 95% water, cucumbers not only make for the perfect summer snack, but also grow well in the arid climate of the region.
Tips for the little green thumb: Cucumbers ideally need a sunny sheltered position and thus are best suited in shaded balconies. Keep your plant well-watered and feed them regularly. Also ensure you arrange for a trellis as these creepers love to spread their stems.
LEMON
Growing a lemon plant is super easy. All you require is a plant or a few lemon seeds and some potting soil; Mother Nature will take care of the rest. Tangy, sour and filled with Vitamin C, lemon adds flavor to every cuisine. Bear in mind that they take at least three years before they yield fruits.
Tips for the little green thumb: Clay pots are ideal for planting lemons as unlike plastic, they are porous and evaporate water from their sides. Also, make sure you use a good organic potting mix as the quality and type of soil you use will have a direct effect on the growth of your plant. Lemons require a shady area in summer and full sun in winter.
Saresa Anthonissen is the Creative Director of the Dubai Garden Centre. She is a lover of all things weird, wonderful, green and sustainable. She believes in the magic of nature.
 

 
 


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