Organic gardening for children

This is a way to grow plants without using any harmful chemicals in the garden that might damage the soil. If the soil has been damaged by chemicals is makes it harder for the plants to absorb nutrients making them an easier target for diseases and pests.

Organic gardening is much safer and better for us all. The Forest Floor is a natural composting place as all the leaves fall and other natural materials decompose. You could grow any plant organically, even edible plantings.

Growing food organically produces more nutritious food to keep you healthy. It also attracts wildlife, which would not be possible by using chemicals.

What is compost?

Compost is a nutrient-rich soil made from natural recyclable materials found in the garden and the kitchen. You can easily buy compost from a gardening shop, but making your own is so much more fun. It is made up from natural materials that break down into the soil feeding it with nutrients which in turn stabilise the ph levels in the soil. By composting you are helping the environment.

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 What can you put in your compost?

Compost materials

  • Uncooked Vegetable and Fruit peelings.
  • Used tea bags and used ground coffee.
  • Crushed eggshells.
  • Bark chippings, wood shavings old straw-like when you clean out a hamster.
  • Old leaves, grass and old plants.
  • Eggs boxes and thin cardboard-like the inside of toilet rolls.
  • Newspapers (not too many).
  • The wood shavings and cardboard absorb any moisture and help to keep it damp.

It is a good idea to try and have a good variety of all of the above, alternating the layers with green materials (which produce nitrogen) like grass, peelings, tea bags, eggshells and Brown materials (which produce Carbon) like leaves, cardboard, and newspapers.

Do not put food scraps off plates, any grease, dog or cat waste, old bones or meat, any synthetic fabrics, or weeds into your compost.

If you do not want to make a compost heap you could make your own little compost bin.

You will need a clear plastic container with a lid, ask an adult to make 4 holes in the bottom to let the smelly liquid out as the compost is made.

At the bottom of the plastic container place some damp newspaper or kitchen roll. Then start adding all your compost materials as you get them; it is also a good idea to add a little soil at the start as well.

Place your container on grass, not concrete. Remember to remind everyone in the house that you are now saving composting materials. Nan Fran always has a little tub by her sink to add her composting materials to before she walks down to the end of the garden with them. Saves her legs up and down the garden she says.

Every week give it a stir making sure it is damp but not wet. Keep the lid on as it could get a bit smelly. You will notice over the weeks of adding materials and stirring it will start decomposing and after a few months, it will turn into compost. When it is finished it should be a dark, crumbly and smell quite pleasant.

This is now ready to mix with your soil to make it very nutritious.

If you are making a compost heap find a place at the bottom of your garden to start, try to cover it up with an old sheet or plastic. As the weeks go by stirring it around and in a few months, the matter starts becoming compost. You will find lots of earthworms in there as it has so many nutrients for us, so be careful stirring it around, no rough stuff, please.