While Jon’s on holiday’s I’ve been given the task of writing the Garden column for January. Now let’s get started.
All children are interested in the natural world. We can encourage this fascination in our environment by getting them into our gardens. No matter your age it is all about fun and staying safe. This includes wearing the right clothing and to be aware of the environment. When we venture out wear old comfortable clothes and SunSmart protection. A hat maybe the most important tool for all gardeners as well as gloves, water bottle and fruit for an energy boost. Lastly a keen eye for discovery. We start with the basic idea that we all need as an animal or plant. Air- oxygen Co2, water, nutrient- food, light – sun, temperature, and soil- earth. Without getting one or any of these we or plants cannot survive or certainly thrive.
We all can show this to our children easily with growing a sunflower from a seed, nurture it through and produce a superb flower that lives and adapts just like us. Remember how our grandparents would have a generous passionfruit vine, or beans that we would be asked to go and pick for the dinner table. Of course, not too many sugar snap peas would be brought in, “one for me, one for the bowl.”
Sometimes even finding treasures of bees enjoying a flower, or a nectar feeding lorikeet tapping at a grevillea flower. Simple discoveries often thrill and teach children of all ages. Let them enjoy digging in the dirt, and plant their own strawberry plant. Show them how to water, feed and of course harvest their own fruits. After a few days of this routine my own kids end up reminding me that it’s time for their plant to have a drink. Maybe try it while school holidays are here, I’m sure the kids will love the time together and the real connection. It may empower them to show future generations. Some of the plants we grow at home with my “garden buddies” (kids) are cherry tomatoes these are quick and have less disease. They are an easy crop to manage. Mint has the scent and freshness, needs only its own place maybe even a hand painted pot to stop it taking over the garden patch. Blueberries can be great and easy using an acidic based potting mix, or adding a handful of pine needles dried out put atop of the soil creates the perfect conditions to thrive. Mulberries can taste sweet and are packed full great nutrients for their growing bodies. Plant oils or resins like neem oil, extracted from the neem plant has been used for several thousands of years. It can also improve and condition the soil. Pyretherum a plant based additive limits unfriendly pests on the vegie patch. It helps keep chewing, sucking insects in check. Chilli and garlic sprays also help to deter, although most of these organic sprays are limited by heavy rains, we all are controlled by the weather. Its important to use a foliar spray early morning to limit leaf burns. Science, experimenting, nurturing is all part of gardening as it can become a great tool to learn and discover. Remember that a healthy, well-watered, feed plant with nutrients, given light and space to grow will thrive not just survive, but it will be up to all of us.
Help your garden this month by feeding it organic fertilizers. Improve your gardens soil by laying mulches to keep moisture in and protecting our friendly worms that also enrich the soils with these benefits. Trim and support trees, shrubs and most plants for improved growth and production. Create the very environment you can take enjoyment from, what suits you will improve your plants too.