Summer is definitely here with very humid, tropical air and the odd hot day already...there's certainly more to come. While the monsoon rains may be annoying they are certainly a blessing because they are keeping ground water levels higher than normal. We gardeners will be thankful for that once the dry weather arrives later in the season.
But it's always wise to make the best of every situation and this warm wet period is a great time to plant out everything you can, especially seedlings and plants grown from seed. Over the holidays, you and the children should have at least a little time together to share the things that really count in life.
Why not help them plant a garden of very colourful flowers or vegetables that are easily grown from seedling and seed?! Make these easy ones to grow to insure the best chance of success. An early success often makes a gardener for life while a failure can help to send yet another generation deeper into the dark ages of the un-environmentally friendly.
Choose the site carefully. It might be part of an existing garden border or corner of the vegetable bed. Or dig up an appropriate patch of the lawn. Be sure that the site is sunny, preferably for most of the day. Sheltered sites out of the worst winds are best. And try for a patch with good soil that drains well but stays relatively moist.
Weed the area thoroughly and be sure to add compost (please be generous) and spread complete plant food and/or blood and bone over the soil. Dig this in a little with a fork or shovel and rake the site over lightly so that it is relatively smooth and level. Then you are ready to plant.
If you want to plant seedlings you'll find a very large range available at Duncan and Davies or at your local nursery. At this time of year growing conditions are so good that almost anything you choose from these nursery seedlings will probably grow with a little proper attention. It's best to plant these seedlings right away while they are fresh.
Don't leave them cooking in a hot car or baking in the sun out the back for several days unless you plan a seedling casserole! When planting, each seedling can be separated from the rest of the punnet to make a bed or border, or the entire punnet can be planted intact to make a clump.
Be sure to water in the newly planted seedlings immediately after planting and probably every day until they stop wilting. Some people cover the seedling plot with a sheet to provide cooling shade.
Planting from seed is most exciting for children. The packets are interesting with little treasures inside. And soon after planting, up spring little baby plants like themselves. And in a single season they can watch them grow, blossom, set seed, and wither...the entire life cycle magically springs from a tiny seed! Seeds are simple to plant, just read the directions on the back of the packet.
Most easily grown for children would include: zinnia, marigold, cosmos, calendula, strawflower, sunflower, balsam, beans, carrot, marrow/zucchini, tomato and corn....Happy Planting!