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Kids Zone: Get the Kids Growing

Read on for some green fingered ideas to get the kids involved in the garden from Sara Whatley

Many Children relish being in command, to feel the power and responsibility of authority. A wonderful way to give them a healthy taste of this is through their own gardening patch, or their own container.

Gardening is a brilliant way for children to learn about nature and get really stuck in themselves – the muddier the hands and knees the better! It will benefit them physically, emotionally and mentally, and hopefully it will give them a healthy understanding of food production and may encourage them to try eating new fruits, vegetables and plants too. Thinking about gardening with children can also provide the perfect opportunity to make some fun trips.

There are lots of beautiful houses and gardens to visit in Sussex, many of which have inspirational kitchen gardens. You may want to take a notebook and camera to help you and your children remember what piqued their fancy. Visiting a garden centre can be a great day trip too. Before you go, get the children to think about what sort of plants, fruits or vegetables they would like to grow (they could even draw plans of their patch) and then find them once you are at the garden centre. They may be inspired to try growing something new that they find there too – experimenting with new plants is always exciting.

Of course, garden centres are also just fun places to visit! My kids love finding the animal sculptures and seeing if there are any water feature displays, while I browse the seeds and plants.

The gift shop is always a big draw, and if there is a café...well, you know where to find us. To help children get growing, you could give them their own tools and gloves, and encourage them to do the watering on their patch – it’s always fun to water!


• Sunflowers – big, easy to plant seeds, quick growth, bright and beautiful flowers, and a delicious meal for the birds at the end of their season

• Mint – looks vibrant, smells fresh and tastes zingy, perfect for engaging all the senses. Mint grows fast, is tough and doesn’t mind being picked at

• Strawberries – delicious jewel-like succulent red fruits hiding beneath the leaves just waiting for little fingers to search out and gobble up

• Tumbling tomatoes – perfect container plants for the patio or even windowsill. Watch an abundance of juicy red cherry tomatoes appear through to September

• Nasturtiums – with bright orange to red and yellow flowers, this scrambling plant looks inviting and is edible too; flowers are sweet, leaves and seeds have a wonderful peppery taste

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