Green Thumbs and Gumboots
Spring is the time to get the kids into the garden to grow things! I think I was about seven when my Dad and I set about making my first veggie patch down in our back garden. He dug and cultivated the soil and created a neat border around my 1 x 1meter veggie garden. I planted Strawberries, Parsley, Carrots, Beetroot and Silver beet…yep just like Spinach!
I was full of excitement and expectation for my veggie patch. I loved going down to water and check on the progress every couple of days and was proud as punch to serve my little basket of Strawberries to the family dinner table once they had grown and multiplied. My mother on the other hand was delighted with the tasty veggies that I was producing.
You can do it too! There is nothing quite like the taste and satisfaction derived from growing your own fresh fruit or veggies. Best of all, they can be easily grown in tubs and pots as well as in a garden.
For the kids to get the most enjoyment out of growing their own foods have them plant a mixture of seeds and seedlings. Seeds, to see the magic of nature as they sprout and seedlings for those munchkins who are less patient!
Mid spring, with its consistently warm days and nights, is a good time to start seeds. Germination will be fast and the plants will make good progress, especially if they’re well watered with plant food which you can buy at most hardware stores and nurseries. Plants such as Lettuces, Herbs and Tomatoes can be planted now and are easy to grow in pots and small gardens as well as larger yards. To help keep your little gardeners clean and dry as you plant, arm yourself with some waterproof crawler pants.
Here are just a few planting ideas for your Spring garden.
Basil Gourmet Mix
Put together a tasty and attractive culinary collection of Basil varieties including Thai Basil, Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil and Purple Basil for colour. These work well in either the garden or in pots.
Position – Plant in Full sun.
Sow - Direct into the garden or in pots. Cover seeds with Seed Raising Mix, firm down and keep moist. Thin out to 20cm apart.
Care - Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Water regularly. Frequent picking ensures continuous supply and keeps the plants bushy. Protect from snails. Remove flower stems to prolong the life of the plant. Mature plants can be cut and dried for winter use.
Grow all the leafy ingredients for a flavour-filled Mesclun salad. Mix up a variety of lettuces from frilly coloured lettuce to your lovely soft green lettuce.
Position - Full sun.
Sow - Direct into growing position or raise in trays of Seed Raising Mix. If you sow in trays you will need to transplant carefully after germination.
Care - Prepare a well-drained sunny position by mixing in some Complete Plant Food and some Garden Lime. Keep well watered and feed regularly with Soluble Plant Food. Protect from snails and slugs. Make successive plantings and harvest plants when young.
There are several varieties, but the “Tiny Tim” variety produces heavy crops of sweet, cherry-sized fruit on dwarf bushes.
Ideal to grow in rockeries, pots, troughs and window boxes. These are wonderful served whole in salads, drizzled with a little olive oil.
Position - Full sun.
Sow - In trays or egg cartons of Seed Raising Mix. Firm down and keep moist. Transplant them to their pots or garden bed when about 5cm high.
Care - Plant in a sunny, well-drained position and apply granular All Purpose Fertiliser for best results. Once flowering commences apply Yates Lush Tomato Food every 4-5 weeks for maximum yield. Water plants well in hot weather, especially if in containers. Protect from snails.
If you have room to move or you can be selective with positioning, plan to put the more heat sensitive plants like lettuce in big pots on the southern, shaded side of the yard. This will give you a larger harvest and stop the plants from “going to seed” too quickly. Happy planting and enjoy this special time in the garden with your little green thumbs!