LIFESTYLE

Gardening with James Vaughan: Easy plants to grow this summer

James Vaughan

Reporter:

James Vaughan

Email:

james.vaughan1020@gmail.com

Gardening with James  Vaughan: Easy plants to grow this summer

In last week's article I spoke about how to get kids interested in gardening. I have seen many articles since then on how to get kids involved in gardening. One thing that did strike me was that if you get kids gardening now in this present situation then they just might be kept interested in years to come. So here are more things you can do to get kids interested in gardening.

Pineapple

If you happen to be buying a pineapple in the supermarket chose one that has green and fresh-looking leaves on top. Once you have the pineapple at home cut it about one inch or three centimetres. Leave it to dry for three or four days. Then plant it in a pot with lots of grit for added drainage. With some luck after several weeks you will see growth forming and you will be left with a tropical-looking house plant.

Radishes

Radishes are easy to grow, as they tolerate most soil types and are quick to crop (usually within three weeks). They’re delicious eaten raw, offering a fiery burst of flavour to salads. There’s a wide variety of cultivars to choose from, ranging from near spherical red-and-white roots, to long, thin white radishes, also known as mooli. Another advantage with radishes for kids is that the seeds are round and easily managed in small hands.

Because radishes are so quick to crop, don’t sow all the seeds in one go, but at weekly intervals, for a successional crop through summer.

Beetroot

Beetroot are a great one for kids to start with. They grow easily from seed, the seed it large enough to handle and the beetroot can be used in many different dishes. Beetroot prefer to be grown in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot, but will also thrive in raised beds or pots. Sow seeds directly into the soil from mid-spring.

Depending on variety, beetroot is ready to be picked when the roots are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball - this is usually 90 days after sowing. To harvest, gently hold the tops and lift while levering under the root with a hand fork. Remove the tops by twisting them off with your hands to prevent the plants bleeding their juice - don't throw these away, they have bags of taste and can be cooked and eaten like spinach

Helping Hands

Our three-year-old twins are consistently asking to help in our garden. Although it is sometimes hard to find them a job that is suitable they are always happy to go watering. This is a great task for them because it teaches them responsibility. It is also a task that they can hardly get wrong. We have a couple of miniature watering cans that we use for house plants. For the moment these watering cans have been handed over to the kids.

My final words are around planting flower seed, in fact, any type of seed. If you happen to have a pack of seed- even if they several years old- sow them! Follow the sowing instructions on the pack as best you can. With a bit of luck, you’ll have success.

One thing is for sure, the seeds will never grow if left in the pack.

Contact James by email: james.vaughan1020@gmail.com