Even though the weather outside is still decidedly wintery, there are several garden projects you can get your children to have a go at now to keep them occupied and interested - with a little education thrown in too!
There is a lot of emphasis on recycling at the moment, and there are several ways of incorporating this with your children when gardening by using items that you no longer need, outlived their usefulness or are simply packaging. An easy one to begin with would be toilet roll or kitchen roll tubes. These make excellent seed pots - start collecting them now and around April time, when the weather is warmer, simply fill with compost (stand them in a seed tray or other container and tie a piece of string round them to keep them upright) and sow seed in the top. These work incredibly well for large seeds such as beans, peas, sunflowers and pumpkins; a single seed should be pushed down a couple of cm into the compost in each. Keep moist and warm at all times in a light place (a window sill is ideal) and when early summer is here, the whole tube with its young plant can be planted out into the garden to grow on.
Labelling these pots is another recycling project to try. Many different items can be repurposed – corks, wooden spoons, pegs and lolly sticks all look fantastic painted in a range of bright colours. Use environmentally safe paint, allow to dry and then write the name of the plant on each one with a permanent marker. A useful gift too, for a gardening friend or relative.
Got an old pair of wellies languishing in the shed? Using them as a quirky planter is a really easy and fun project to do with the kids. Simply make a couple of holes in the sole to allow for drainage, then fill each welly with some multipurpose compost. At this time of year, planting colourful primroses looks fantastic. Children can then use colourful marker pens, stickers or paint to embellish the welly itself. A pair stood on your front doorstep makes a wonderful welcome!