Posted 29th May 2018 by Peter Byrne
With National Children's Gardening Week (NCGW) upon us, parents are being encouraged to inspire their kids to grow
The benefits of gardening have been championed for a long time, yet despite this, the common misconception that it's something that is only for the older generations still lingers. Research conducted by Dobbies has found 61 per cent of parents consider gardening to be a good way for their children to find out about the natural world, while also discovering the natural world around them, yet despite this, there is still a lack of common gardening knowledge.
The research revealed more than one in seven children (15 per cent) would not know that onions are vegetables, while 14 per cent don't consider potatoes to be a vegetable.
An independent survey of 402 primary school head teachers and deputy head teachers by NGCW revealed 94 per cent considered school gardening would benefit pupil's physical health, mental well-being, social skills, behaviour or concentration. Yet despite this, the typical primary school only has 33p per pupil to spend on school gardening, prompting a call for more funding, volunteers and other materials that will link school gardening to the curriculum.
Louise Golden, resident gardening expert and senior plant buyer at Dobbies, said: "Spending time in the garden has so many wonderful benefits, both for general wellbeing, the environment and children’s education. With many tech savvy youngsters now spending more time watching TV and on mobiles and tablets, taking time outdoors to engage with mother nature and the world around them could provide a welcome break from screen time.
“There are plenty of easy plants, fruit and vegetables to grow, plus many that don’t require much space at all, with containers, window boxes and wall planters all making great mini vegetable gardens and tumbling varieties of cherry tomatoes growing happily in hanging baskets.
“Growing your own fruit and vegetables is also a wonderful way to introduce your children to the enjoyment of growing their own food, broadening their understanding of where the food we eat comes from and also how easy it can be to grow many everyday items on your doorstep. Perfect for easy picking by little fingers, the best ones to try with children are peas, radishes, carrots, lettuce and sweet juicy strawberries.”
To inspire little gardeners, Dobbies will be running a Little Seedlings Club on 3rd June, allowing youngsters to personalise their garden by planting seeds in the shape of their initials - they can then take them home to watch them grow.