Seeds are magic in a packet and there's something wonderful about showing children how to become green-fingered magicians.
But I admit I always feel a bit panicky at this time of year. There's so much to do in the garden that I'm left wondering if I'll remember to get it all done.
Follow our guide to what seeds to sow now and you'll not only be harvesting veggies this summer but you'll be creating some wonderful family memories.First though some things to remember and the very basic equipment you'll need.
- Always sow a couple of extra seeds as an insurance policy just in case your child's fails to emerge. Label the pots too - I always think I'll remember what I'm growing but I never do.
- Compost is a must. Seed compost can be bought but I've had success with ordinary stuff. If you have access to home-made compost even better, just mix this with some sharp sand.
- Sunflowers - Always a big hit, these come in a wide variety. As well as the standard giant ones, my children are currently growing Teddy Bear and Ginger Nut.
- Squash - These are so easy to grow, children love them. Sow them on their sides instead of pointy end down to prevent them rotting and wait. Give them plenty of water and space when you eventually plant them out and you'll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest. Favourites in our house are pumpkins called Baby Bear and Munchkin and I love growing yellow courgettes and butternut squash.
- Peas - the size of these make them ideal for small fingers. They will need support when they grow taller and you may have to do battle with slugs but the effort is worth the joy, and taste, of harvesting your own peas, mangetout and sugar snap.
- Radish - the seeds are small but are reliable and seedlings can be thinned once they emerge. The rainbow variety is a big hit with children.
- Carrots - I've included these because there is nothing to beat the taste of one just pulled from your veggie patch. However, if you have clay soil they can be hard to grow. Instead sow in containers and thin the seedlings. Carrot tape (with the seed enclosed in a paper tape) is ideal for children. If sowing seeds the traditional way you can delight in round, purple or rainbow carrots.