17 tips to get your kids interested in gardening
Gerry Daly offers his top advice when it comes to getting children interested in gardening.
Do give children a share of the garden for their own play activities - a dedicated play area, swing, covered sand box.
Do give children part of the garden for their own growing projects, an area as small as one square metre can be very effective and very manageable.
Do start children on growing projects that give quick results, seeds that emerge quickly and grow fast, see the list of seeds and plants to try.
Do allow them access for games to all parts of the garden, and even if the football knocks the occasional flower off a rose bush, it will re-grow plenty more.
Do give children ownership of their 'own' trees and shrubs, especially fruit trees, as they will even as adults continue to identify a tree as theirs.
Do give them a wide experience of sowing seeds, bulbs, trees shrubs and flowers, all kinds of plants.
Do ask them to help in small ways, fetching a trowel or a packet of seeds, or holding a tree upright as you plant it.
Do let them record the garden with photos or drawings of the projects they took part in, the highest sunflower, for instance.
Do give them a jaunt in the wheelbarrow, just tip them out carefully!
Do let them break off 'doing gardening' whenever something else distracts them, as they will come back for more.
Do let children climb garden trees to a safe height, but always keep an eye on what they are doing.
Do give children basic experiments to try, such as watering one potted plant and not another, or covering a small area of grass for a few days to exclude light.
Do set up wildlife features, such as nest boxes, insect hotels and bird feeders and ensure feeding renewal.
Do bury a time capsule, in the form of a plastic drinks bottle with names, photos, drawings and a message, when planting a tree.
Don't ask children to carry out onerous tasks, such as weeding for hours, because their early experience should always be positive and fun.
Don't allow children access to the site of heavy work, such as wall or fence building or the laying of paving slabs.
Don't allow children access to the garden when garden machinery is in use.