Amelia Robinson, Children in the garden, Gardening

Gardening for a healthy lifestyle

Whether working on a small patch in your backyard or an acre of land, growing plants is an exciting and rewarding exercise. Gardening is a noble way to spend your free time and relax in nature. If you can follow the rules and do it right, you will reap a bountiful harvest of homegrown fruits and vegetables. Growing plants in your garden has numerous advantages. For the purpose of this article, we shall delve into the health benefits associated with gardening.

1. Better nutrition

 Better nutrition

Gardening calls for good farming practices such as using organic fertilisers to grow vegetables, as opposed to the genetically modified way of agriculture. With gardening, you get to consume a healthy serving of vegetables and fruits harvested at their peaks. If your kids tend to push around food on their plate, encourage them to partake in the growing exercise. Active participation right from planting through the harvesting stage is likely to change their perception of these foods for the better. Before long, your little ones will opt for a healthy vegetable sandwich to a greasy burger for Sunday lunch.

2. A moment to chill

Moment to chill

The pressures of modern day living have led us to be accustomed to never-ending stress that threatens our overall well-being. If your job is very demanding, you often spend long hours chained to your desk with hardly a moment to breathe. You may want to squeeze in a few minutes at dusk or dawn to commune with nature. Plants have potent properties that relieve stress and even alleviate particular pains such as headaches. These soothing and healing properties qualify some plants for aromatherapy though their essential oils.

3. Vitamin D

Since tending the garden means spending a couple of hours in the sun, you get a healthy dose of vitamin D. This vitamin helps to fight certain cancers and stave off heart diseases. The result? People who do gardening on a regular basis enjoy better health and a prolonged lifespan.

4. Regular exercise

If you are not fond of signing up for expensive gym classes across town, do not fret. Gardening gives you a chance to flex those muscles while digging, lifting plants, pruning shrubs, etc. Spending a couple of hours in the week gardening is more feasible and fun than jogging for miles every other week. If you can combine gardening and other forms of exercise, perfect for you!

5. Save a pretty penny

Ardent gardeners provide fresh fruit and vegetables right at your doorstep without having to go for a grocery run. Compare the different prices of similar fruits and vegetables at your local supermarket; you will be amazed at how much you are saving. If you have a big family, consider expanding your gardening skills beyond aesthetically pleasing plants to subsistence farming of food crops.

6. Save the planet

 Save the planet

Planting trees and vegetation is good for the environment in numerous ways. Trees hold the soil together thereby preventing soil erosion, they purify the air and keep it fresh. As countries become more and more industrialised, greed has led to massive deforestation of rainforests thus disrupting the ecosystem. We see the effects of these illegal activities in declining rainfall patterns, migration of wild animals from their natural habitat and the encroachment of modernity into natural reserves. These are costly mistakes driven by corporate and political greed, and future generations stand to pay a hefty price for them. If you choose to plant trees, you need a brush cutter to keep them well maintained. Visit your local garden store and ask for advice on how to choose the best brush cutter. Planting trees in the garden is a step in the right direction as we work towards righting a few wrongs.

7. Involve the kids

 Involve the kids

What sort of after school activities do your children follow? If your answer includes playing video games, surfing the internet or watching television, you may want to reconsider this plan. Instead of heading off to the garden alone, why not bring the kids along? Brace yourself for long faces and downright protest, but eventually, they will come around. Involving your children in gardening takes their focus away from the burden of technology and gets them playing with the dirt. A little lesson about the environment will go a long way in the classroom, and it may nurture an interest in nature from a young stage.

8. Sense of community

Gardening provides a chance to interact with fellow gardeners at community events such as the local trade fair. Spending time with people in the same field presents an excellent networking opportunity for gardeners to exchange information. These social interactions foster a sense of community which boosts our mental and emotional health.

Conclusion

Gardening comes with a myriad of benefits that boost our emotional, mental and physical health. Selecting the right farming equipment is a pre-requisite for great results. Gardening experts will advise on how to choose the best brush cutter and other tools that you will need.

Amelia RobinsonAmelia Robinson is a lover of plants and gardens, as well as an educator on this topic. It’s her goal to make sure that you get the chance to learn what you need to about gardening to succeed with your own home garden at the blog RobinsonLovePlants.com. You’re not going to find just a collection of basic articles about gardening here. Instead, she wants to answer the difficult questions for you.

Amie, Children in the garden, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Primrose.co.uk

Growing up, my first exposure to gardening was planting sunflower seeds in my grandparent’s back garden and watching them grow taller than me! I used to love getting my hands dirty and playing in the muck of the garden, but it seems a lot of children today would prefer to do the opposite.

Follow these steps to get the kids back into the garden and appreciating the outdoor elements.

1) Plant exciting flowers or varieties
Flowers which don’t require a lot of work or maintenance, such as sunflowers or marigolds are a great starting point for children. Sunflowers grow really tall, which I remember fascinated me. Sensory plants such as Stachys Byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) or Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) will also excite young ones. You can’t go too wrong with seed based plants due to their ease.

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2) Use grown vegetables for dinner
Do you have fussy eater in your household? If so, get them involved with the growing of fresh fruit and vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, the possibilities are endless. It will be rewarding when you sit down for tea and eat all of your hard work too.

Harvesting Summer Vegetables

3) Decorate plant pots
You can easily get some plain pots, which are cheap enough to paint and decorate. This combines creativity with gardening, and then allows for potting and planting afterwards.

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4) Build a wormery
Most children are fascinated by worms, and why wouldn’t they be? Worms are wonderful little creatures so support their habitation by building a wormery. Simply fill a glass jar or box with moist soil, sand, vegetable peelings, vegetation and leaves, and some worms. You can then look at how they behave, how they move and how they look.

wormery

5) Create a treasure hunt
Children love a treasure hunt, so hide some goodies (perhaps chocolate if you’re feeling generous) in your garden, ensuring they’re hidden well! Bury underneath bushes or hide up trees, and promote the idea of getting mucky and stuck in. It doesn’t matter if your garden is small (or you have no garden), you can go to the park or some wooded area and do this too.

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Show us how they get on, and send in any pictures or stories, especially of worms! If your photo contains a Primrose product and we feature it on site, you will also get a £5 voucher!

  • Email photos@primrose.co.uk
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We recently had photos sent in from one customer who is helping to educate future gardeners using one of our New Leaf polytunnels!

  

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

Children in the garden, Gardening, Heather Roberts, How To

How to Teach Children to Garden

Children are very sceptical when their parents try to get them involved in the gardening work. Instead of all the fresh herbs, salads and vegetables, most kids associate gardening only with the hateful broccoli and turnips which their mothers often serve for dinner and claim are very healthy. Adults may find planting and maintaining a garden satisfying and delightful, but kids truly dread it when they are made to do chores like weeding and pruning. Yet there are a couple of things you can do to introduce your child to the bright side of gardening and plant the love of nature in their heart. Take a look at the following ideas and learn how to make gardening pleasant and exciting for your little angels.

1. Provide Them with Their Own Garden

Kids are more confident when they have their personal workplace. Designate a small area of your garden or at least a pot or two where your children will be able to plant whatever they want and then take care of it. Go to a garden centre together and choose plants that are sure to grow in your garden – after all, there is no point in purchasing seeds because the plant is your child’s favourite colour if the conditions in your garden are not suitable for it to bloom.

2. Choose Plants That Will Be Interesting to Kids

The more interesting the greenery is, the more impatient your kids will be to plant the seeds and produce many cheerful veggies and flowers. Here are a few examples of plants that will be excellent for a child’s garden:

Nasturtiums. These pretty flowers have many advantages – they are not only lovely and edible, but will also attract plenty of butterflies and birds to your garden, which will surely please your angels.

Sunflowers. These are great because younger children will be really impressed by the speedy growing of the sunflowers. Take a notebook and a measuring tape to write down the height your plants reach on a weekly basis.

Vegetables. Fast growers are preferable as they will keep your kids’ interest and will not make them wait too long before getting results. Beans, tomatoes and potatoes are good ideas as they will bring lots of joy to the children when picked and cooked.

Gardening with Children

3. Give The Garden a Theme

Your kids will be much happier gardeners if they have the opportunity to plant things they personally love in their own garden. Veggies for pizza and salsa, or herbs like peppermint or basil are excellent choices. No matter what your children will choose to plant – tomatoes, peppers, onions or parsley, or everything in one place – as long as you can provide the growing conditions required for one of them, all the others will grow as well. Pizza herbs and veggies need the same temperatures and amounts of water and sunlight. Allow the kids to grow their favourites and you will see how happy and determined they will be to pick the healthy produce.

4. Prepare for Next Year

Once you have shown your kids how pleasant and easy hobby gardening can be, they will probably be interested in helping you around the garden next year, too. After they have learnt how to plant and grow their favourite greenery, you will do good to teach them how to collect their seeds. When the season’s end approaches, store the seeds in a dry and cool place to allow the children to practice their new hobby again next year. You can also ask them to join you when you are preparing your garden for the winter and explain to them every step of the process.

Everything is better and more pleasant when it is done with your favourite people, so share your affection for gardening with your kids and be proud of the devoted gardeners they will become under your guidance.

Heather RobertsHeather Roberts is a freelance guest blogger from London, United Kingdom. She has got many published articles on various topics such as gardening, patio maintenance, home organizing, green living etc. She loves to spend her time with family and friends and she also tries to live an eco-friendly life.

Animals, Children in the garden, Guest Posts, Nicole

Bee on sunflower
Today we went on a wildlife hunt in our garden but the only luck we had was getting a snap of a bee on our sunflowers. Not to be discouraged with finding so little besides the bee and our usual feathered companions we took the search further even looking for those pesky slimy plant munching pests aka slugs and snails, the idea being that we could see who found the biggest but my boys soon lost interest.

Venturing beyond the garden we took a walk to our local loch, bread in hand in hope of seeing the pair of swans which frequent it alongside the ducks. After trekking up to it battling endless hills (my town is built on hills and I’m sure everywhere we seem to go is an uphill climb) then having a little break to play in the local park we finally arrived at the loch ready to see some wildlife at last but the swans weren’t there!
Moorhen on loch
Thoroughly disappointed we threw the bread in anyway. My boys looked as downcast and downtrodden as the photographer next to us who must’ve trekked all that way for a picture to leave empty handed. The reason for the swans’ absence is perhaps the amount of dog walkers around because our local swans aren’t too keen on dogs at all.
Young moorhen chicks
Not wanting to see my boys so unhappy I decided we were not leaving until they got to see something… anything! After carefully explaining to them to get comfy, stay still and stay quiet we all waited patiently. It wasn’t long before something started moving among the reeds then ventured out for a nose, my boys were delighted! It wasn’t the swans but a collection of wee birds (I think it could be a moorhen and maybe it’s young?) we watched them run along the water and were rewarded with one of them coming up for a close look at us.
Butterfly on flower
Finally my boys were happy and we set out for home managing to get a picture of a lovely butterfly on the way. Tired from our wildlife hunt we reached our gate and were just about heading upstairs to our house when my neighbour shouted us. Curious we followed her into her garden and my boys kneeled down to look where she was pointing. Lo and behold there was a wee toad! Needless to say it made their day and ended our adventure with me thinking that maybe we should’ve just asked our neighbour for a look round her garden instead!Wee toad in neighbour's garden

Nicole

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