It’s not always easy in this city to make sure your kids get daily contact with nature. But it’s important. Respect for nature starts from having a love and appreciation for everything a healthy environment offers. The good news is you can sow the seeds of this love in your children by, literally, sowing seeds. Whether you’re in a condo with a teeny balcony or you have a decent sized garden to call your own, together you can nurture a new life into being. Here’s some suggestions for what to grow.
Indoor & small balcony ideas
The kids will love growing cacti – they’re the warriors of the plant world with their suit of prickly armour, and their hidden root full of liquid (a life saver for people stranded in the desert). They’re a sustainable choice too – Bangkok has been hit by severe droughts in recent years, and cacti need hardly any water.
The web offers a wealth of guidelines for either growing from seed (could be a slow process waiting for it to germinate, but ultimately rewarding) or potting and caring for one you’ve bought. Try making your own ‘cactus calendar’ and get the kids to mark the monthly watering and the fertilising, then ask them to take ownership of the care. Here’s a blank template they can decorate with stickers or doodles. You could even mark the cacti birthdays on there too if you get attached to cacti (like me).
Terrariums are another great choice for indoors or smaller areas. Succulents, cacti, small peace lilies and spider plants work well, with whatever novelty items the kids want to throw in too. Here’s a handy guide to building them. Pinterest is a great source of design ideas – we’re partial to this dinosaur themed one, and also love the recycling aspect of this tiger one.
Ideas for the garden (or larger balconies)
Growing the essentials for your own pad kaprao dish is a fun project for outdoors. Start with the chillies. The kids should enjoy watching them transform from green to red, but try to go for a milder variety if the kids will be handling them. You can also get your holy basil on the go – this will do best in the rainy season. The kids should enjoy having a good sniff of the leaves once they start coming through. Then all you need is your garlic and whatever else you want to throw into your kaprao. Never a prouder moment than eating a meal you’ve grown yourself.
If you’d like to attract some wildlife, try planting hibiscus. As well as helping to water and grow it, the kids can keep watch for hungry butterflies that will be attracted by its scent and colour. And bees will enjoy ehretia for its long flowering period.
Hopefully these tips will get some green fingers twitching – good luck, growers!