13 November 2013
Chatting Kids Gardening Tips with Caroline Roberts
I love meeting eco mums with oodles of passion and who walk the talk when it comes to green living. Caroline Roberts, founder and owner of Gardening 4 Kids, is one such inspirational woman.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Caroline in person earlier this year and her love of gardening with children was obvious..... and contagious! As the sponsor of our November Eco Challenge to GET YOUR KIDS GRUBBY, I thought it was about time I caught up with Caroline again to gain some insight on what makes her tick.
When did you develop your love of gardening?
My love of gardening began as a child. My parents and both sets of grandparents had large gardens and I always enjoyed being outside picking fresh fruit and vegies with them. Some of my fondest memories of being a kid involve being outside in the garden with my grandparents and my children now love being outside in the garden with theirs.
What are your favourite activities to get your kids grubby outside?
This is a tricky question to answer as I have so many! I really love exploring the garden with my kids. I love helping develop their sense of wonder so I always encourage them to use all of their senses when we are outside. We love looking at, touching, smelling and tasting interesting flowers and vegies. We enjoy listening to and noticing who is visiting our garden such as birds and insects. We also love exploring the compost pile and the worm farm – there are so many interesting creatures that live within them. Jumping in muddy puddles is always fun too!
What do you grow in your garden?
We have a lot growing in our garden at the moment –peas, chillies, celery, tomatoes, silverbeet, beetroot, potatoes, strawberries, blueberries and herbs. We also have orange, peach and olive trees. We are growing chamomile to make our own organic tea which both the kids and I love to drink. We also grow a lot of flowers the kids can pick and play with – lavender, fuchsias, marigolds and nasturtiums are our favourites.
What is your best tip for parents to get their kids outside gardening?
My number one tip for getting the kids outside and gardening is - make it fun for them. Encourage their sense of imagination and wonder. Go exploring with them and ask them questions that begin with “What do you think will happen if…...” and “Why do you think….?
Also give your children responsibility and ownership of an area in the garden. It doesn’t need to be a large spot – even a pot or a planter box will do. Help them choose their own plants to grow and provide them with the correct equipment (including gloves and tools) that is age and size appropriate.
What are the best plants for kids to grow?
I think the best plants for kids are one they can actually see grow and also produce relatively quick results. Rainbow silverbeet is a great vegie for kids; it is fast growing, colourful and very versatile when it comes to cooking. Herbs are also wonderful. They smell amazing, they are interesting to touch, they are quick to grow and they can be used in a wide range of recipes. Finally, both peas and strawberries are always popular and easy for kids to grow. Be warned though – they rarely make it inside before they are gobbled up by little green thumbs!
Caroline Roberts is a primary school environmental education teacher, gardening specialist, mum to two gorgeous kids and owner of Gardening 4 Kids. She is passionate about helping children learn how to live a sustainable and healthy life through gardening.