Indoors garden

Whether you have limited, or no, outdoor space or are simply looking for a solution to rainy-day boredom, there are plenty of ways in which children can enjoy gardening indoors. Many of those lovely garden plants they (or you!) hanker after can be propagated from seed on window sills, before being hardened off to outside conditions, and of course you can grow or buy house plants. But there are plenty of other ways to enjoy gardening indoors:

  • Sprouting beans (such as alfalfa, lentils, mung) and cress can easily be grown and harvested on windowsills. All you need to do is put the beans on a few layers of damp kitchen paper, keep the paper moist, and wait for them to sprout! You can grow them in any sorts of containers. Why not use empty egg shells to grow cress, drawing a face on the outside so the cress grows to become ‘hair’?
  • Create a terrarium using a large glass jar (such as a pickling or kilner jar). Put about 5cm of gravel or expanded clay balls in the base of the jar. Add a layer of charcoal (to stop the compost becoming smelly) followed by a good 15cm of compost (if you’re using houseplant compost it usually contains charcoal so you can exclude the charcoal layer), pressing it down firmly (eg with a potato ricer or masher). Create small holes with a long handled spoon and careful plant small houseplants into it, such as dwarf cultivars of creeping fig (eg Ficus pumila ‘Minima’), prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) and parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans). Gently pour water into the jar then either close the lid (in which case it won’t need as watering often, but will need occasional airing), or keep the lid open (in which case it will need more frequent watering).
  • Brighten up your houseplants by buying some cheap terracotta pots and getting the kids to brighten them up with their own artwork. Water based paints and stickers can be used – although the decoration won’t last long outdoors.