Learning

How does your garden grow?

Huw Richards, gardener, author and leading gardening YouTuber shares his advice on how to encourage green fingers from an early age.

Published

Two thirds of Brits say they will be gardening or tending to plants this year. But how can we encourage the kids to get involved too and inspire the passion for years to come?

Almost 1 in 3 (32 per cent) of keen gardeners got their inspiration from their parents according to the YouGov research for Readly digital magazine and newspaper app. Nearly half of all gardeners rely on trial and error, but a significant number are self-taught from reading gardening magazines and blogs.

Huw says: ‘There’s nothing quite like growing your own food, plants or herbs. It’s not just about large spaces: gardening with kids can be on balconies, shared allotments or indoors with plants too.

... you may be surprised that salads are perhaps the best money-saving crop because they are incredibly productive on a small scale ...

‘Your garden is a canvas which you can colour with your passions. With cost on the agenda this year, you may be surprised that salads are perhaps the best money-saving crop because they are incredibly productive on a small scale and can be continuously picked and eaten. If you are new to growing, now is the perfect time to get your hands dirty. The Readly app* is a good place to start, with lots of great gardening magazines to harvest your knowledge.’

Here are Huw’s top tips:

Begin with a small plot or container gardening.

Let children have their own space to plant and care for their chosen plants. Give them ownership of this process to make them feel empowered and have a role in gardening.

Find gardening activities that capture children's interest.

Consider themed gardens, such as a pizza garden with tomatoes and herbs, or a rainbow garden with plants of different colours.

Encourage children to dig in the soil.

Encourage them to plant seeds, and water their plants. All children love to dig, so give them a space or pot and let them experience the joy of seeing their efforts result in growth and harvest.

Get kids to pick a crop.

Help them to find something that really excites them to grow and give them everything they need to take responsibility for nurturing and caring for it. From blueberries to mint to lavender or flowers, let them experience the nurturing process!

Show children the wonders of nature's diversity.

Suggest they try new foods based on what they have grown. Food will taste even better if they have grown it!

Use gardening as an opportunity to educate children.

Through gardening, you can teach them more about the importance of nature, ecosystems, and sustainable practices. Discuss concepts such as composting, water conservation and beneficial insects ­ and explain how these contribute to a healthier environment.

Celebrate harvest.

When plants are ready to harvest, celebrate the achievement by preparing a meal together using the homegrown produce. Involve children in cooking or creating recipes using their harvested vegetables or herbs.

Suggest easy crops that will yield well to begin with.

Peas and strawberries are two easy yet incredibly delicious crops to grow for children to snack on in the garden.

DID YOU KNOW?

Although more than half of us will focus on maintaining our gardens this year, 44 per cent will plant and grow fruit and vegetables and 38 per cent will plant 'low cost' plants and flowers.

The top fruits and vegetables families will be growing at home this year are:

Strawberries

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Raspberries

Apples

Cucumber

Blueberries

Rhubarb

Runner beans

Blackberries

*The Readly app has a magazine or gardening article for every type of gardener. With over 7,000 titles as part of the unlimited digital reading subscription, it offers hours of gardening inspiration and information.

Visit www.readly.com/gardening.

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