mini gardeners

inspiring gardening projects for children

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Windowsill Salad Harvest

growing lettuce in a windowbox

windowsill lettuce

At the beginning of the summer holidays we planted a windowsill salad garden.  It didn’t get off to a great start with the slugs and snails eating all the emerging seedlings.

growing chard in a windowbox

windowsill chard

Undeterred, we sowed some more seeds and surrounded the planters with crushed eggshells which kept the slugs and snails at bay.  And today we harvested lettuce and chard for lunch – carrots not ready yet so will have to wait a few weeks longer 😦

growing carrots in a windowbox

windowsill carrots

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Windowsill Salad Garden

lettuce growing in a window box

School holidays and so many hours to fill.  A whopping 8 weeks for us this year which works out at 672 waking hours.

We whiled away a happy hour today planting a windowsill salad garden.  We’re growing round carrots  (Paris Market 5 – Atlas), chard (five colour silverbeet) and lettuce (red “picking” lettuce Granada).

Here’s how we did it:

windowsill vegetable garden - select containers

windowsill vegetable garden - improve drainage

windowsill vegetable garden - sow seeds

windowsill veg garden - cover seed

windowsill vegetable garden - water

windowsill vegetable garden - label

We’ll check the boxes every day and water each time the compost looks like it’s drying out.  It’s fairly warm at the moment so we’re hoping seedlings will appear in the next one to two weeks.

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Newspaper plant pots

recycled newspaper plant pot

newspaper pot with lettuce seedlings

Ooooooh, we do love a bit of recycling.  And what better recycling project than these little pots for seedlings, made entirely from newspaper?  No glue, no sellotape, no string, no staples.

And when the seedlings are ready to be planted out, plant the pot too and it will biodegrade nicely with no rubbish left to throw away.

We made ours with a wooden paper potter but you can easily use a glass, jar or tin can if you don’t own one of these.

Here’s what we did:


newspaper pot instructions 1 annotated

newspaper pot instructions 2 annotated

newspaper pot instructions 3 annotated

newspaper pot instructions 4 annotated

newspaper pot instructions 5 annotated

For a pot 4cm tall (ideal for lettuce seedlings) we cut strips of newspaper 8cm deep by 57cm wide, the entire width of the newspaper.  This allowed 4cm for the overlapping edges which form the base of the pot.

For taller 8cm pots (ideal for bean seedlings) we cut strips 12cm deep i.e. 8cm for the pot height and 4cm for the overlap.

Best to place your pots on a small tray before watering, nice and close together so they provide some support for each other.

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Water, water, every where

waterlogged lettuce seedlings

waterlogged lettuce seedlings

Half term this week and one of the perennial problems with school gardening clubs is what to do about watering in the holidays.  Particularly pertinent at the moment as we’re still officially in drought in London.

Worried that all the pots and containers would dry out during the half term break, I bundled them into my car and brought them home.  2 window boxes of lettuce seedlings, 1 of radish, a tray of sunflowers and 40 small pots of herb seeds sown just days before half term (with hindsight, not great timing).

And the irony is that it has barely stopped raining since I got them home.  So, five days in, I’ve not watered anything.  In fact, the only useful thing I’ve done is decant water from the lettuce seedlings – the container’s drainage holes were blocked and I didn’t want the seedlings to drown 🙂