Kids Korner: Gardening with the Kids in Winter

Gardening with the Kids in Winter

It may seem like the weather is gloomy and we would all rather be indoors- but there is so much for the kids to enjoy outdoors in Winter, when the weather is lovely in the middle of the day!

Winter, and in particular July, is hardscaping time in the garden. Just as we adults create pathways and focus on outdoorscaping in these cold months, so the kids can do the same in the garden, with these fun ideas. We have included some simple projects, as well as a more in-depth project that requires some tools and handiwork! Enjoy!

Garden Paths

If your garden needs a revamped colourful pebble or stepping stone path, get the kids involved!

We at Lifestyle sell stunning round stepping stones which can be painted in various colours and laid out to create beautiful paths. Let the kids paint butterflies, numbers or just plain colours on these stones and lay them in the garden between veg patches and floral shrubs. Add pebbles in-between the pavers for a complete look!

Build vegetable supports:

With some firm bamboo sticks of a reasonable length, and some strong string, get the kids to construct a teepee-like structure. Lay the bamboo poles (you will need around 6 per support) in a circle around a metre wide. Push them into prepared soil and bend the tips towards the centre. Tie some string to the tops of the bamboo poles. Let the kids vine the string around the poles and work their way down until all of the poles have taut string around them, ready for vegetables to grow up.

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Cold-weather Hot houses

As if we need another reason to up-cycle! We are in love with these plastic bottle greenhouses for plants. Simply cut off the top half of 2L or 5L water or cool-drink containers and wash them out. Invert them over winter seedlings or plants that may seem a bit more tender at this time of year. They will provide insulation for your plants and a healthy amount of condensation. Remember to remove them when you water your seedlings, to allow water to get to the plants.

Bee Hotels

There is no better time to gather wood offcuts, bamboo pieces and logs to create a Bee Hotel.  Here is an in depth method to creating a Bee Hotel, derived from Life is a Garden.

You will need:

  • 7 pieces of marine plywood (to make a box 15cm in depth, 20x30cm width and height), drilled together, or pinned together with panel pins
  • alternatively a Wine crate, readily purchased from our Lifestyle MICA department.
  • Small logs
  • Any off-cuts of wood
  • Bamboo canes (available in-store)
  • Some clay and paint to make a bee, if desired, for decoration
  • Duct tape for the roof
  • Hinges and screws
  • Sign for bee hotel/rates

How to build a bee hotel for your friendly garden pollinators

Step one: Building the box

Using the panel pins, secure the panels together to form a box shape. Remember to leave two panels for the roof. It is best to have one set of hands holding everything steady and the other set of hands doing the hammering.

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Step two: Making the roof

Angle the pieces of wood for the roof, in an A-frame shape and use the duct tape to keep the two pieces together. Use two pieces of duct tape, if necessary. Secure the A-frame shaped roof to the box with some more duct tape for a temporary fix, or screw in some hinges.

Step three: Creating hotel “rooms” for the bees

Cut pieces of wood and bamboo to the same depth as the box. If you sourced bamboo from bamboo cane fencing, remove the bamboo canes from the wire fencing. Drill holes of different depths and thicknesses into the logs and wood pieces (anything between 2mm and 10mm drill bit will work). Ensure the holes are smooth and clean – remove any sharp pieces left behind and sand it down lightly. Fill the box with the wood and bamboo pieces that have been drilled and cut to size –  make sure they’re evenly distributed, well compacted and secure.

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Step four: Location, location, location!

Place the hotel in a sunny spot in the garden, on a southern-facing wall, 1m above the ground. You can then add a few crafty touches to your hotel – make a clay bee, paint it, paint the roof a bright colour, and make a fun bright sign with your hotel’s name (“Tori’s Bee Hotel”, for example).

Signs your bee hotel is being used are small mud tunnels or door over the openings drilled into the wood and bamboo. Beeee sure not to disturb the bees and their nests because that’s where they house their offspring and their eggs.

Solitary bees love having a variety of flowers to choose from – not only are you feeding bees, you’re adding colour and delight to your garden. Plants which are ideal to plant to further attract bees include: ‘Mexican Marigolds’, Gazania krebsiana, Lavandula, Salvia divinorum, Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’, Alyssum alyssoides, and Portulacaria afra. 

If you are less inclined to DIY this sort of project, Lifestyle Home garden keeps gorgeous bug hotels in the Birding section- ready for you to simply pick up on your next trip to us!

Is your child a gardener?

Is your off-spring the type that accompanies you to lifestyle to buy plants? Do your nieces/nephews love to be in the garden? Are you raising gardeners? We would love for you to tag them on Instagram using the hashtags #raisinggardeners #lifestylehomegarden and #lifestylekidskorner

Have you read our Kids Korner post all about getting your kids into the garden? Read it |HERE|

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