Hello!, It’s Charlotte here from @simply.together. Can you believe that Saturday is officially the first day of Spring. However, it doesn’t really feel like it. The weather to me isn’t particularly spring like, although it’s meant to get warmer pretty soon, so keeping fingers crossed for that! We also have the joys of Covid-19, looming over all of us still, with the hope of this road map out working. I wanted to put together a few gardening ideas people can do with their toddlers over the Spring/Summer. It can also be an amazing opportunity to incorporate learning for older ones without them realising!
Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow. We used to grow them at school, and now grow them at work with the kids. This year, now Molly is older we wanted to try and grow some! We are thinking of have Ming a pot each, with our names on so we can see who’s is who’s.
Plant your seeds in containers from mid April to the end of May. If you wanted to, they can be sown straight into the ground. Just leave a good 5-10cm between each seed. Cover them with soil and water gently to ensure you don’t undo your hard work. As they get taller, you will need to support them by using bamboo canes. This will hopefully prevent the stems from snapping.
This is such a fun activity to do over the warmer months. Keeping track of who’s Sunflower is the tallest! Once you have a winner and your flower starts to die. You can harvest the seeds to either roast, or keep for next hear to use again!
Make A Sweet Pea or Runner Bean Living Teepee
Browsing Pinterest, I kept coming across these teepees made from plants. You can plant them in pots, and then arrange in a circle, or dig straight into the ground. You then use bamboo sticks, join with twine at the top and then weave twine around the poles as something for the plant to climb up easily. As it grows, it creates a teepee. I thought this would be really cool for Molly to help make and watch grow. Then enjoy when complete. Something to do every year! I need to decide what plant we’d use. Imagine having a little blanket in there in the Summer, snacking on homegrown produce, Perfect!
Plant a wildflower patch
Now, It’s no secret that wildflowers have many benefits to the environment. Last summer I was sent some wildflower bombs and seeds, but never got the chance to plant them. Molly and I grew Corn flowers that we got in out #30dayswild but This year I want to go bigger! I am hoping/planning to have a fence around my allotment, with a gate at the front. Either side of the gate, I’m hoping to grow a mass amount of wild flowers. Little maintenance and look they beautiful. You can watch them grow and then keep a journal of what wildlife it brings to the garden!
Growing Strawberries & other veg!
Who doesn’t love going to a pick your own farm and strawberry picking?! With the possibility of a lock down, this may not be happening for many of us this year, however…you can grow your own!!
Strawberries are relatively simple to grow, and you can do it in pots, raised beds, even bags! Last hear Liam’s mum grew some at home, and we’d have to take molly out each day to check the plant. She’d get so excited when she spotted a bright red one, and would eat it straight away. This year I am hoping to grow more in the garden. Simple things like Potatoes, tomato’s, carrots and hopefully some beetroot!! There are so many different things you can try! It’s so much fun picking the produce at the end as well!
Make a bug hotel
I wanted to make one of these last Summer when we took part in #30dayswild. However, due to lack of space and it not being our garden, I put it off. This spring, We plan to build one at the Allotment. Molly and I have already been collecting pine cones over the winter months and various sticks to use. It’s nowhere near the amount of materials we will need, but it’s a decent start. We are thinking about using the dolls house from Ikea, filling it up with the bits and bobs, and then securing chicken wire across the front to keep everything in place. Don’t know if we will do this, it’s just an idea at the moment.
Pinterest is full of ideas for bug hotels, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The kids can decorate it and fill it however they like, and again you can keep track on what wildlife it brings.
General garden upkeep
Children, especially toddlers, like to help out. So why not let them?! Getting some warm soapy water, a sponge and some scoops and they are ready to help clean their garden toys and furniture! All whilst developing their fine and gross motor skills-as well as having fun! They can help with sweeping, weeding (don’t let them loose or you’ll loose a few flowers) and watering the plants. These are just a few of the things Molly loves to do around the garden during Spring time.
Make Homemade Seed Bombs
It doesn’t matter if it’s a plant pot, flowerbed, wild patch in your garden or an entire meadow. Sowing wildflowers in Spring provides vital resources to support a wide range of insects that couldn’t otherwise survive in urban or built-up areas. Throwing, breaking up or digging ‘seed bombs’ (or balls) into areas in your garden that need a little brightening up is a perfect way of spending an afternoon!
You will need:
- Meadow flower seeds or seeds collected from the garden.
- Peat-free compost.
- Powdered clay (found in craft shops).
- Mixing bowl.
Creating your seed bomb:
- In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of seeds with 5 cups of compost and 2-3 cups of clay powder (you could use clay soil instead if you have it).
- Slowly mix in water with your hands until everything sticks together.
- Roll the mixture into firm balls.
- Leave the balls to dry in a sunny spot.
- Now for the fun bit! Plant your seed bombs by throwing them at bare parts of the garden and wait to see what pops up!
Top plants to include in your seed bombs:
- Bulbous Buttercup – Ranunculus bulbosus
- Chamomile – Chamaemelum nobile
- Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil – Lotus corniculatus
- Common Spotted-orchid –Dactylorhiza fuchsii
- Lady’s bedstraw – Galium verum
- Red Clover – Trifolium pratense
- Wild Thyme – Thymus polytrichus
- Common Knapweed – Centaurea nigra
If you guys try any of the above, don’t forget to tag us @thatmamaclub over on Instagram!