Let me introduce Rocky – a salsa dancing extraordinaire, Oscar and Bafta winning actor (well he was an extra in this year’s Les Miserables!), award winning horticulturalist and life long friend of mine. Today he is going to give us some tips for your family friendly garden.
Spring is coming so let’s get cracking on the garden. You know, the place outside your door. The wheelie bin storage area, the dump, the play area or the concrete yard. Whatever you call it or however big or small, it’s a great place to explore with your children and get them to understand the seasons and where our food comes from. Have you ever thought about growing some vegetables, flowers and fruits but not sure how? Or have you tried and failed miserably and given up. Fear not I’m here to help. It’s quite easy really… But how, you may ask?
Ok, firstly, it’s not rocket science. Yes, you need soil, water and light BUT but before you go mad buying the massive of seeds and ‘amazing’ new ranges for children take in these important key points. This is a job for you. Get the basics right then, add the children after and fun begins!
In order for you to grow successful crops you need to choose the most sunny site. The technical term all the gardening books say would be something like south facing. Secondly, traditionally people used to confine the veg beds to the back of the garden. Sadly if you do this you’ll be less motivated to go out and it will be the furthest way from the kitchen. Easy access is important
There are many types of soil on the market, and having nutrient rich soil goes a long way. Try mixing your garden soil with some rotted stable manure and if you are lucky enough, compost from your own compost heap. You can use this this mix in the raised beds but the general soil would appreciate it too. By planting in raised beds, the drainage is also improved considerably.That is a big problem, especially if you have heavy sticky clay soils like here in Northamptonshire. Have you ever thought of having a wormery for the children? Oh what fun they are! If you are not in the position to have your own soil and are planting up a container, buy compost but add with it some slow release fertiliser (easily available to buy) as it will help to give out nutrients through the whole season. Good drainage is the key too, so make sure the pots have holes in and cover them first with some broken crockery or stones before adding the soil. Remember to replace the soil every year with fresh if you are growing by this method. Keep your pots well watered.
Plants, a few of my recommendations:
Buy some herbs. Rosemary, sage and thyme are great. Not only do they attract bees, survive and hold onto their leaves in the winter, they smell divine when touched and taste great too. They are robust enough for heavy hands to touch, neglect and the football. If you want to grow mint, stick it in its own pot as it is very invasive.
Very easy to grow. They are a fail safe option. They can be grown in the beds, containers and even hanging baskets. Try a few different varieties as they crop at different times of the summer. Their runners can be pegged into the soil to make more plants! I like a variety called Cambridge favourite but there are loads to choose from.
[stextbox id=”tmk-box”]CHECK THEM OUT: www.secretseedsociety.comThere is a crop rotation method you can use to prevent pests and diseases but it hard to explain to here. If you would like more help with this or any other help with your garden, contact Rocky at www.wellplantedgardens.com, or follow me on twitter /facebook. [/stextbox]