Wed 21 September 2016
Gardening is this week’s Screen Free Challenge theme so we headed to a community garden to visit Costa Georgiadis of Gardening Australia. Younger viewers might also know him as Costa the Garden Gnome from ABC TV’s dirtgirlworld.
By growing their own veggies or plants kids learn so much. In caring for a plant they learn a sense of responsibility and what happens if the plant gets too little or too much water. Growing plants is also an opportunity for parents and carers to talk to kids about the value of food, respecting farmers and also the environment.
Here's Costa's top tips for getting kids into the garden:
Find a community garden or make your own!
There are community gardens all over Australia. You can find one close to you here or even make your own! From schools, to pockets of land around churches, scout halls, laneways with nature strips, and verges in front of units and houses, there are possibilities to create gardens in many places.
Costa says, “Community gardens can take lots of different shapes and forms - just because you live in a block of units, doesn’t mean you can’t do it!”
Anything can be a pot
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to buy pots, Costa says. His tip is to think about containers instead, which means you can find them everywhere, in all shapes and sizes.
How does he suggest sourcing them?
- Look around your neighbourhood on council clean-up days for an old clam-shell sandpit
- Go to a local restaurant or café and ask if they have spare white containers that held ghee or mayonnaise
- If you see a landscaper working, ask for a pot after they’ve finished with them
- Use old wine barrels
- Grab an old teapot and plant some succulents in there
Take all of these to make a little windowsill garden or in the bathroom or on the kitchen bench top.
Even though succulents are really easy to grow, Costa says that the real payola comes with the discovery of a ripe cherry tomato, radish or carrot.
Grab a 300mm container and plant six lettuces. Let them grow for four to five weeks and you’ll have salad.
Make a worm farm
If there’s one thing Costa is passionate about, it’s worm farms. They’re easy to set up and don’t need a lot of space.
Just like tending plants, caring for a worm farm also helps kids develop a sense of responsibility. Kids can learn how to separate kitchen scraps between the compost, the green bin and the worm farm, and the beauty of having a worm farm is that they create soil for your plants.