There are many plants for indoor and outdoor cultivation that produce results in a remarkably short time. these make an ideal basis for the children’s garden. With guidance, children can be amused for hours from a plot of land that is set apart for there own use.
Making a garden
Where there is space for a children’s garden outdoor, the job of preparing the ground should be done in the spring. First the planning and laying out. During the winter, when the ground is unworkable it is a good time to draw a plan of the garden. The position of the flower beds, lawns, paths and rocks, can be marked in different colours. Find out which plants like shade, which like the sun and position them in the beds accordingly. A rock garden for instance, should always be in a sheltered but bright corner.
A children’s garden doesn’t always have to be a simple vegetable or flower bed, though many young gardeners take pride in just such a garden.
If space is limited, it is still possible for children to cultivate a miniature garden, a window-box placed on the ground floor window-ledge. Even an old biscuit tin can become the basis for a garden if a few holes are punched in the bottom for drainage.
It is very interesting to see how quickly a fruit pip will produce a miniature tree. Plant the pip of an orange, lemon, grape-fruit or pomegranate 1/4 inch deep in a pot full of good garden soil, and keep the post warm and dark e.g. in an airing cupboard, until the first shoot appears. Then put it on a sunny window sill. Water the plant well then transplant it into a larger pot when it has grown 3-4 leaves. Plants grown from pips indoors will never become large enough to bear fruit, but they make very attractive house pants.
The stone needs to be planted rather more deeply than the pips described, and the soil should be watered as soon as it starts to look dry.
Growing a plant from an avocado stone. Put some newspapers in the bottom of a jam jar fill the jar with water and balance the stone of an avocado in the neck of the jar sot hat the larger end of the stone just touches the water. Leave the jar in the airing cupboard for three or four weeks and bring it into the daylight when the first shoot appears. Roots will have grown down into the water by now, and the avocado should be planted in John Innes potting compost in a 5 inch pot. It may be necessary to break the jam jar to remove the plant for potting up, because the seed will probably fill the neck of the jar.
It is easy to make a pretty and unusual gain by growing the tips of root vegetables. A carrot top for instance, will produce a mass of beautiful fern like leaves within a few days, cut the top off a carrot, leaving 1/4 inch of the root and 1/4 inch of the leaf stem. Stand the carrot leaf stump uppermost, in the caucer of water, and leave it on a sunny window sill. Keep the saucer filled with water, and the carrots will sprout very quickly.
Other root vegetables can be treated in the same way, e.g. beetroot, parsnips and turnip tops grown together make an attractive and colourful mix of leaves. Put a layer of clans pebbles at the bottom of a shallow bowl and stand the root toops on the layer of pebbles. Half fill the bowl with water and put it on a sunny window sill, adding more water when necessary. Pineapple tops will also sprout quite quickly. Choose a fresh pineapple top with a good solid growing top, allow it to dry for a few days, and then plant it in a bowl of garden soil mixed with sand. Keep it in a warm place and do not give it too much water.