June 27, 2016

Vegemite Snail Trap

Vegemite Snail Trap

SNAILS and SLUGS – How to control them with kid-friendly products! 

Gardening can often seem like a constant battle between snails and the gardener, but here is a terrific blog written by Jade and Amy from Growing Green Thumbs.   They are 2 very enthusiastic school mums who spend their days volunteering at their children’s primary school in Bonbeach, Melbourne.   They share their gardening enthusiasm with parents, students and our wider community, learning along the way as they grow fruit, vegetables and flowers whilst making it fun to play outdoors in a sustainable environment. [Read more…]

Leap Year Garden Myths

Peas Growing the Wrong Way

Peas Growing the Wrong Way

There are many myths and superstitions associated with leap years and especially around 29th February.  According to legend, 29th February is the one day every four years that a woman can propose to a man (and the man willed be fined if he declines!), there are also a few garden and farming myths connected with leap years.   [Read more…]

Cabbage Moths – How to keep them away from the vegie patch

cabbage moth

Adult Cabbage Moth

Cabbage Moths were accidentally introduced into Australia during the 1930’s.  Since then, the Cabbage Moth caterpillars have been merrily munching their way through vegie patches across much of the country.

In this blog, we’ll explain some kid friendly ways to remove and control them in your patch. [Read more…]

Writing Names on Fruit and Vegies

Message on a Banana

Message on a Banana

WRITING NAMES AND DESIGNS ON FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Scratching your children’s name into growing pumpkins, zucchinis or melons is such a fun and simple activity, but it gives the children months’ worth of enjoyment as they watch their creations grow!

Here are 3 tried and tested edibles that work really well for this activity:

  • Pumpkins, zucchinis (and any other members of the squash family)
  • Watermelon
  • Passion fruit (scratch your design while they’re still green)

[Read more…]

Queensland Students put Healthy Eating Back on the Table

Junior Landcare's Greg Grimes and a student from Martin Luther Primary School

Junior Landcare’s Greg Grimes and a student from Martin Luther Primary School

At 77 schools and kindergartens across the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and Somerset, Queensland, students are finishing the day with dirt under their fingernails – and their parents and teachers love it.

It’s all part of a gardening program designed to educate children about the origins of their food, led singlehandedly by Junior Landcare Lockyer, Toowoomba and Somerset coordinator Greg Grimes. The “Healthy Eating, Healthy Children, Healthy Lifestyle Program” is all about making a difference and encouraging children to eat healthy and fresh food from their own gardens.

Now 73, Mr Grimes was a teacher for over 50 years. With a lifelong affinity for the environment, it’s only natural for him to now to volunteer his time and skills to educate children from the garden. [Read more…]

Guest Post – Straw Bale Gardening

In this Guest Post, Tracey Sidwell from Bale Grow talks about straw bale gardening.  I have read about this concept but had never actually seen it in action. That was until I met Tracey and saw for myself her fabulous straw bale gardens.

I often get asked what is the best way for kids to have a vegie patch in a rented property, I think straw bales may be about the perfect solution.

xx EricaHaybale blog

Straw Bale Gardening with BaleGrow

As a mum, nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids eat fresh veggies; especially when they can pick them straight from our garden. With almost no gardening experience and limited space, the kids and I have had a ball with our straw bale garden. I figured lots of other families would love this just as much, which is how BaleGrow was born. [Read more…]

Kids’ Gardening Books Reviewed

Herbert Peabody and the Incredible Beehive

Finding quality kids gardening books can be a bit of a challenge at times, so this blog reviews two new books on the market; Herbert Peabody and the Incredible Beehive by Bianca C. Ross, illustrated by Tabitha Emma Bray and Garden to Table – A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing and Preparing Food by Katherine Hengel.

Herbert Peabody and the Incredible Beehive by Bianca C. Ross, illustrated by Tabitha Emma Bray

What a breath of fresh air! A kid’s book that highlights the benefits of bees to gardens and the environment! [Read more…]

10 Tips To Get Children Involved In The Garden

Fun In The Garden

Fun In The Garden

We are frequently asked “How can I get my kids interested in gardening?”.  And these days with easy access to a range of electronic entertainment devices, it is more important than ever to encourage children to create their own garden and grow their own food.  Here are our top ten tips to encourage your kids into the garden.

1 Have Fun

Without doubt the most important tip of all!  As a child when I visited my grandparents, I always received the fun tasks in their extensive vegie patch.  I was never asked to weed, but always ready to help out with harvesting, planting or watering on a hot day!  Let the kids do the fun activities and do the mundane jobs yourself.

2 Give Children Their Own Space To Garden.

Let your kids have ownership of their own garden bed, to grow their own plants and to decorate it how they want to.  Start with easy to grow vegies, flowers or herbs.  All of the plants in our Vegie, Flower and Herb Patch Kits have been specially chosen to be easy and quick to grow.

3 Have Tools That Are Made For Children

Having size appropriate tools can make all the difference.  Gloves that fit snugly are a must, as are hand tools specifically designed for children.  A large watering can is going to be too heavy for a child to lift, but a smaller one or a Bottle Top Waterer will be just perfect.

4 Start Small

Whilst we would all love to have magnificent blooming gardens that flow on for acres, we need to be realistic when gardening with kids.  Start with a small garden bed, or plant some strawberries or tomatoes in a pot or two.  Probably, one of the easiest ways to start growing is to grow vegetable tops on a saucer of water;  Carrots, leeks, turnips, celery and bok choy will all grow leaves from the stem that is usually thrown away or composted.

5 Plant The Right Plants For The Season And Climate Zone

Kids will quickly loose interest if seeds don’t germinate or plants die, so make sure that the plants you grow are appropriate.  Growing pineapples or bananas in Victoria or Tasmania will probably never work, likewise, growing broccoli or cauliflower during the wet season in Northern Australia will be a disaster!  Research online or use our Grow Guide to ensure your kids have every chance of gardening success.

6 Aim For Some Quick Results

Kids will respond better to plants that grow and/or germinate quickly.  Try planting some cress or radish seeds, both these seeds with germinate within a day or two.  And just like my kids, I always get excited to see my new “babies”!  Making a Cress Egg Head can be a fun and nutritious activity for children.

7 Get Arty

Gardening isn’t always about growing plants.  Children will love to make a scarecrow, a bird feeder or even paint their own rocks to use as plant labels garden art. Older children can write the names of plants on the rocks, whilst younger kids can plant the colour of the flower, or simply do their own thing!

8 Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle!

“Junk Gardening” can look absolutely fantastic and this a bit of creativity, lots of items that we throw away can be used in the garden, and it teaches are children an important lesson about sustainably.  We recently made a herb garden from an old kettle BBQ.  Another great idea for children is to make mini gardens from used tin cans.  My children have painted old surfboards and a worn out rotary clothes line, all used to brighten up the garden.  Almost another can be used, one of my daughters came home from school recently with sweet peas planted in an old pencil case!  Be creative, the kids will love it!

 9 Create Some Wild Areas

Children love seeing wildlife in their garden.  Try creating a birdfeeder, a bird bath or even a lizard lounge.  Grow some plants that attract butterflies and birds.

10 Be Prepared For Some Loses

When planting seeds, seedlings or plants with children, I usually use at least twice as many as are required.  As all gardeners know, sometimes things don’t go to plan and plants die or seeds don’t germinate.  By doubling the required number you will reduce the chance of a complete flop, so the children won’t loose interest.  And if garden plan A doesn’t work, remember there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.

I hope these ideas will give you some inspiration to help your kids love gardening and growing their own food.

Happy Gardening

Erica

 

 

Bush Tucker – Warrigal Greens

Warrigal green quiche

What better way to celebrate National Reconciliation Week than with a popular bush tucker plant and recipe.

Back when I was in school, we were taught that Australian history began when Captain Cook “discovered” Australia.  And celebrations of Indigenous culture were almost non-existent. Thank goodness things have changed!

Nowadays, we have a Welcome to Country ceremony at most official functions. Children are immersed in Indigenous culture from their pre-school days.  And at school, Australian history begins long before 1770.

Bush tucker is becoming increasing popular and many of the plants are super easy for kids to grow. In this blog, we will highlight a bush tucker plant that you will probably have seen growing wild and thought it was just a weed. [Read more…]

Mini Succulent Garden using Recycled Tin Cans

Mini Succulent Garden made from Recycled Tin Cans

Mini Succulent Garden made from Recycled Tin Cans

These super cute mini gardens are incredibly easy for children to make.  Using waste tin cans and succulent cuttings, they make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift.

The kids and I have been stuck inside with nasty colds so we spent some time decorating some used tin cans to be used as mini gardens. We then ventured outside to take some cuttings and make up these nifty little garden gifts. [Read more…]

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