Columnist Lydia Harvey give her best tips on how to get children interested in gardening, and how to teach them where their food comes from.
Gardening is as beneficial for the children as it is for the adults.
It's a great way to introduce children to fresh foods from a young age. Even in the depths of winter, sending the children to help out in the garden provides relief for those suffering from cabin fever.
If you are already a gardener, no doubt your children naturally tag along behind you. But if this is all new to you, where do you start?
There is so much you can do in a small space. If you have a few youngsters, a good idea is to buy flexi tubs in different colours and designate your child their own one, or if you have space in your garden let them have a little plot of their own.
Grow something fun and tasty
Plant peas. Kids love to hide away in them and they will eat raw peas as they grow (double win), but if you only have a small space strawberries are a hands down winner.
Make work play
Those jobs you don’t like doing? Turn it into a game, raking leaves, removing caterpillars and pulling weeds to chopping (supervised) the veggies for dinner. It's all one less thing you have to do.
Take nature walks
Every morning my youngest and I walk around the garden see what is growing, identify new birds and pick what is ready for use that day for his lunchbox. We also talk about what we can make.
Get in the kitchen
Meals here are based on what is ready to be picked and brought to the kitchen. The kids love the hands on jobs of washing and prepping.
When children are connected to the food they have helped make right from planting process, chances are they will be happy to chow down on a plate of home-grown goodness.
From Lydia’s (and the kids) Garden: Apple and rhubarb muffins
2 cups of self-raising flour
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 cup of warmed milk
100 grams of soft butter
In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar and mixed spice together.
Once combined make a well in the centre an add the warmed milk, butter and egg to the mixture.
Gently combine then add grated apple and chopped rhubarb.
Pop into greased muffin tins and then into a preheated oven.
Bake at 180deg for around 15 minutes.
Stand for five minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.