This Planting and Activities Calendar is handy guide for parents and grandparents on gardening with children. It includes suggested activities for each month of the year.
Gardening with children of all ages can be tremendous fun. The sense of anticipation and achievement which comes from growing things combined with being outside and working together makes gardening a fabulous family activity.
Planting and Activities Gardening Calendar
Feeding the Birds Many garden birds really need you during the winter. Put out food and break the ice on the water . This could be a good time to decorate your own bird feeder such as the the Hip Hop Bird Stop.
Digging A Bean Trench Dig a deep trench ready for runner beans. Put in a layer of rotted compost and then add vegetable peel etc. over the winter and cover with soil in the early spring. The children will enjoy digging with a children’s spade and the task gives a clear message about recycling.
Plant Sweet Peas under cover. The seeds are large enough for children to handle easily and the abundance of flowers means that children can give them to teachers, family friends etc.
Mulching Let the children transport mulch around the garden in their kids wheelbarrow.
Nesting Boxes Put up nesting boxes such as the Boogaloo Bird Bunk.
Wash Pots and seed trays ready for use in Spring. A thoroughly messy activity for indoor or one of the warmer days in the month.
Strawberry Runners Planting a number of varieties of strawberries can prolong the harvesting period. A popular fruit with youngsters.
Summer Flowering Bulbs Plant bulbs such as Gladioli, Lilies and Begonias. Some will need to be started indoors whilst others can go outside. Striking flowers which children will love.
Greenhouse Planting If you have a greenhouse, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, aubergines, celery and salads can all be planted. Children love to eat food which they have grown.
Onion Sets Plant onion sets (baby bulbs). If you dig the drills (mini trenches) a child can easily drop in the bulb and help to cover it.
Watering A favourite activity for young children. Depending on the weather, watering plants in pots and containers could be an enjoyable daily chore using a child sized watering can. If you have planted tomatoes etc. in a greenhouse, they will also need regular watering.
Sweet Peas If you missed the chance to plant them under cover in January, now is the time to consider planting them outside. Designing and building a wigwam style frame for sweet peas (or garden peas) is a fun activity for school aged children.
Weeding Not always a popular chore for adult gardeners but one which children often love. Choosing an area where the distinction between weeds and plants which you want to keep is clear can be a sound precaution!
Bedding Plants In most areas the ideal time to plant out bedding plants. A fantastic job for children to do because a moderately sized flowerbed can easily be transformed in under an hour. If possible, let the children choose some of the plants or colours. They will look after those ones with extra care.
Hedgehogs are very active this month and may welcome a little extra food. Avoid bread and milk because it does not reflect their natural diet. Uncooked minced meat with a raw egg provides a good alternative.
Daisy Chains Not strictly gardening but making daisy chains is fun.
Harvesting Many of the salad items planted in the greenhouse may now be ready to pick. Where possible let your children pick them and prepare them for tea. Then watch them glow with pride.
Sweet Peas need training up their supports.
Cut Flowers for bringing indoors and giving to friends and relatives as gifts from the children.
Sowing Seeds Late sowing of quick maturing vegetables such as radishes and baby carrots should still be possible.
Pick Crops Regularly pick crops such as tomatoes and courgettes to encourage new growth.
Mixing Compost Mixing grit or perlite with multipurpose compost is a slightly mucky task which is great fun for children.
Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs They may not be able to prepare the holes for spring flowering bulbs but kids will love dropping the bulbs into holes. Involving children in decisions about which colours to put where can help them to develop planning skills.
Plant a Tree If you want an extra tree or two in your garden and have the space, collect sycamore seeds and acorns and plant in large deep pots filled with seed compost and sprinkled on top with fine grit. Keepn them in a very sheltered area or even better a cold frame over winter.
Plan for Next Year If your children have their own patch of garden, this is a great time for them to start thinking about what they would like to grow next year.
Bonfire If you have debris from the garden which is unsuitable for composting this can be the ideal time to have a garden bonfire if you have the room and bonfires are not restricted in your area. Take all sensible precautions and do not leave any children unattended whilst the bonfire is lit.
Clean out Nesting Boxes If you are lucky enough to have had a bird family resident in your nesting boxes, this is an excellent time to clean them out. If you need a new box, consider the Boogaloo Bird Bunk.
Christmas Decorations Collecting the materials for and making plant based Christmas decorations such as holly wreaths. Collecting and spraying fir cone with silver or gold paint is fun with older children.
House Plants Winter is a great time for encouraging children to take an interest in house plants.