I bought some Poached Egg plant seeds after talking about them a short while ago.
Limnanthes douglasii or poached egg plants are really easy to grow and within four days of planting them out they germinated. Another three days saw their first true leaves. I think I should get a colourful show of flowers before the summer is out and hopefully they will self-seed to give us earlier plants next year.
The ease and simplicity of sowing and germinating these seeds make them an ideal choice for youngsters to build up their confidence in the garden. I remember myself when, as a child I started growing cacti and was devastated when one of them died. I got that same feeling for years as any house plant that shrivelled up I took as a failure on my part, instead of looking at it as a continual learning process.
There are a lot of great plants children can grow other than sunflowers
Crane's-bill, Geranium; grown for its white, pink, blue or purple saucer-shaped flowers and its dense foliage, which is great for keeping down the weeds.
Lamb's ears, grown more for its foliage than its flowers. As its name suggests, its downy leaves resemble the ears of a lamb. It can be a bit of a pest if left unattended.
Houseleek, (Sempervivum) a rosette-forming succulent that produces flowers on long stems. It is a great plant for dry areas of the garden. They grow from offsets so if a friend has one, nip a few off and replant.
Forget-me-not, pretty clusters of small flowers in either blue, white or pink. They love well-drained soil and polytunnels. They are the third biggest weed in there just behind chickweed and rogue tomatoes.
Primrose, a spring wildflower that comes in a variety of colours. Great for planting in pots and containers and divide easily.
Bellflower, 'Canterbury Bells'; a blue, white or lavender, summer-flowering plant can easily be sown from seed.
Pansy, Viola; the cheery face of the pansy is a popular choice for an abundance of both summer and winter colour.
Flower seeds could include:
Sweet pea, Marigold,Nasturtium, Cosmos,Cornflower for examo[ple. Next time you are out and about at a friends house or on a walk, collect some seeds and plant them in pots.
Herb seeds prove to be easy to germinate. And can be sown anytime in a pot on the windowsill if it’s too wet outside.
Spearmint, mint will thrive in most soils, to the extent that it can easily become a nuisance. To avoid this, try growing it in a container on the patio.
Rosemary, this pretty herb produces blue flowers and has highly-scented, needle-like leaves.
Thyme, grow thyme in a well-drained, sunny area of your garden.
Chives, For a regular supply of delicious leaves for your salads cut off the flowers before they open.
Sage, this strong-flavoured herb has grey-green leaves and spikes of blue flowers.
Oregano, planted in a sunny area of the garden, marjoram will grow as vigorously as mint. Children may recognise its taste as it's often used in pizza and pasta.
Coriander, this popular herb, frequently used in Indian cookery and salads.
Fruit and vegetables
Even if it’s too late for some vegetables to give a serious amount of produce – or any, just watching them grow can be so much fun. A runner bean will grow a foot a week.
Radish, a great starter vegetable for kids because as well as being problem-free to grow, the colourful roots are ready for eating within a month of sowing.
Lettuce, lettuces can be grown all-year-round. Simply choose from the many varieties to ensure you have a crop for every season. Once sown, seeds should begin to sprout within 12 days.
Courgette, courgettes are simply marrows harvested before they have been allowed to grow to full size. Plants get quite big so be sure to give them room.
Carrot, sow carrot seeds thinly in a sunny area of the garden and they should germinate within 17 days.
Spinach, start picking the young, tender outside leaves of the spinach as soon as they reach a reasonable size, this also encourages new growth.
Swiss chard, one of the hardier vegetables, chard to survive winter.
Beetroot, a slow starter but once seedlings start to push through it picks up speed. You could speed up germination time by soaking seeds for a few hours before planting.
There you have it. A selection of random seeds and plants we could play with in the summer. It’s not about getting a large crop or a competition winning flower display. It’s more about just getting children interested in the wonder of nature and watching things grow. We can teach them about taking cuttings next year.