Get the Children Involved in the Upcoming Greenhouse Season
Greenhouse cultivation is not only for grown-ups - children can also participate in various gardening activities. By involving the whole family in the planning of the new greenhouse year, the children can learn a lot and experience the joy of growing their own vegetables. A great way of getting the children involved, is to assign them their very own little area in the greenhouse, where they get to decide what to grow and can observe the growth stages of each plant.
In this article, we have collected tips on how to get the children involved in the greenhouse. We are drawing from our extensive experience teaching in school gardens and creating successful gardening experiences together with the children.
7 tips to get the whole family involved in the upcoming greenhouse season
(1) Let the children choose their own small area for cultivation.
Explore the greenhouse together and let the children choose a small area in the greenhouse, a plant box, or a couple of pots, where they can decide what they want to grow. By giving them their own little area, they gain more autonomy and ownership, often resulting in a greater interest in both the planning and the cultivation. Choose a smaller area to begin with, which is not too overwhelming for the children.
(2) Discuss which vegetables the children would like to grow.
Give the children a say
Involve the children as much as possible and let them decide what they would like to grow. Discuss what could be fun to cultivate and consider what they like to eat, for example in their favourite dishes and lunch boxes.
Choose easy vegetables
It's a good idea to select vegetables, herbs, and flowers that are easy to grow and don't require too much maintenance. It's important for children to have successful experiences with greenhouse cultivation. It's better to get more ambitious next year than to start with a complicated project, that might results in the children loosing interest.
Select fast-growing vegetables with a high yield
Engagement and success are often highest when choosing vegetables that grow relatively quickly, such as spinach, arugula, and radishes. Vegetables that provide a good yield are also popular, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and edible flowers like nasturtiums.
Stimulate taste, smell, and sight
Compose a gardening plan that stimulates both taste, smell, and sight. You can do this by selecting vegetables that are different from those typically found in supermarkets in terms of taste, scent, and appearance.
Show the children that there are yellow and purple carrots, blue peas, or beets that resemble candy.
Also, cultivate crops that have interesting plant parts growing above the ground so they can observe the different growth stages.
Grow fragrant herbs or flowers, such as mint (in a separate pot or bed as mint is perennial and spreads vigorously) or marigold, which spreads an orange scent in the greenhouse.
(3) Make a detailed greenhouse sketch – choose the right neighbouring plants.
Making a detailed sketch of your greenhouse, is not only fun but also practical and gives you a great overview over the different vegetables, their placement and when they should be sown.
Crops to grow in the greenhouse:
- Carrots (preferably in different colors)
- Tomato or cucumber and marigolds as ground cover
- Beets (preferably in different colors)
The crops above are only a few suggestions and there are a lot of other options. Make sure to adjust your greenhouse plan according to your family's wishes and needs, and the space and resources you have.
(4) Find the right seeds together
Find the right seeds based on the greenhouse plan you have made. You can ask friends and family if they have seeds to spare, or you can buy the seeds at your local garden centre, nurseries or find seeds online.
(5) Make your own plant signs
Create customised plant signs for the crops you're going to cultivate. This way, your children can keep track of the different growth stages. Make sure the signs are water-resistant to be able to survive watering in the greenhouse. One example could be laminated plant signs. The small laminated plant signs can be attached to small sticks, with paper clips for instance. Make a slanted cut at the end of each stick so they can easily be stuck into the soil.
(6) Collect milk cartons, toilet rolls, etc. for pre-germination
Already now, you can begin to collect various items that can be repurposed for pre-germination. It can be anything from toilet rolls, empty milk cartons, plastic containers, etc. In this previous blog post, you can read how you can make your own pots from newspaper.
After you know which crops you would like to cultivate and have made a detailed greenhouse plan, you can begin to research whether the different crops need to be pre-germinated. For instance, if you want to grow chilli plants (there are many mild varieties), it's already time to start thinking about the pre-germination process. Find our chilli guide here.
We hope you enjoy the planning process with your family and you get off to a great start in the greenhouse this year!
Behind the Danish company TagTomat (in English ‘Roof Tomato’) is a skilled team whose passion is to create green communities and inspire to green do-it-yourself and do-it-together projects. Today TagTomat sells organic flower seeds and vegetable seeds, which are packaged with our seed packaging machines from 1895. It all began in 2011 in the heart of the neighbourhood Nørrebro in Copenhagen with just five self-watering plant boxes on a wheelie bin storage. You can read more about TagTomat at our website TagTomat.Get to know TagTomat
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