22 Nov Apartment Gardening With Kids
Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t make friends with nature daily. Growing plants is a fun and simple way to teach kids about sustainable living, while they have fun getting their hands dirty.
If you live in an apartment or small inner-city dwelling, the concept might seem daunting. Here are some tips to get you started.
Vegetables such as lettuce, rocket and kale grow easily from seed and provide a steady flow of salad greens, since you can harvest leaves while plants are growing. Beetroot seeds need to be soaked overnight before planting, and leaves can be harvested for salads and juicing. Once the bulb has grown, beetroot is great to roast.
Cherry tomatoes and strawberries grow well in pots, and kids will love picking them. Basil, thyme, oregano, parsley and chives are great herbs to grow, and you can buy pots with separate compartments in which to plant them. All these vegetables and herbs need at least a few hours of direct sunlight a day. Mint can tolerate more shade, and is best planted in a pot of its own, as it grows vigorously.
Blooms such as marigolds are easy to grow from seed, add colour and attract pollinating insects. You can have fun picking your pot, and even spend an afternoon painting terracotta pots with your kids. There are also pots with a reservoir at the base to provide water on days you forget.
If you only have indoor-bench space, kitchen seed sprouters require no soil and give very fast results, keeping kids interested. You can grow your own tasty alfalfa and sprouts, as well as wheat grass to add to your vegie juice.
When it comes to composting (non-protein) food scraps, a worm farm works great on a balcony. They’re not messy and the worms will eat most of your vegetable waste, producing a liquid fertiliser for your plants. It’s best to position the worm farm out of direct sunlight.
Enjoy the fun of gardening!
Veronica Roelink is a mother of three, landscape designer and owner of Budding Landscape Designs.
Words by Veronica Roelink