From veranda pots to fully blown plots, now is the perfect opportunity to do many things with our kids and families, and this week we are getting started on preparing and planting our winter veggie garden.

Gardening with kids is fantastic. It provides education around how our fresh produce comes to be. It gets us outdoors and working together, our kids are probably more inclined to try new seasonal produce that they might otherwise turn their noses up at AND you can use gardening as a responsibility for your kids to take (some) ownership of.

You don’t need to spend a fortune and you don’t need the worlds biggest or most elaborate garden space.

Plant for the season. Some popular vegetables that grow well in winter here in SA include bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage. Carrots take us a loooong time to grow from seed, so be patient. Spinach is also good and grows quickly, as do most herbs.

Here are some things you need to consider:

  1. Select the right spot for your garden. Take notice of how much sun your plants will get, especially in the winter months.
  2. Preparation is king and soil quality will go a long way to your success. Add compost to existing soils and give them a good turn. If you are starting from scratch use a combination of reasonable quality potting mix and compost.
  3. Add your seeds or plants to the garden bed and make sure you give them enough space eg, carrot seeds 1.5cm, broccoli seedlings 25cm – just follow the packet directions.
  4. Don’t over water your plants. Apply a quality liquid fertiliser each week and check daily for pests and disease such as cabbage moth.
  5. Keep pets and animals out. We have a Labrador puppy this year and I have planted (and subsequently now fenced) our winter garden for the THIRD time.

A worthy investment is a couple of spray bottles that you can mix cheap bug deterants in such as garlic and water, or dish liquid and water, depending on the ailment.

Keep the base of your plants free of dead leaf matter so as you don’t attract earwigs or slugs and when you notice insects or holes eaten through the foliage of your plants take a photo, it’s really easy to identify the problem via apps and help from online gardening groups. We like Backyard Vegetable Gardeners – South Australia for learning and advice on Facebook and South Australia Free Plant & Garden Group (that last one is strictly for swapping and giving away).

Give kids jobs like – pulling small weeds, turning over soil, watering, talking and singing to the plants and telling them how strong they are growing ha ha and of course harvesting. Let them get dirty and involved. Because I spend a lot of time in my garden I also decided to paint a wall that we have in there with black board paint. Full amateur job, but my kids spend hours in there playing schools and teaching gardening .

Enjoy! There is nothing more rewarding.

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