Dinosaur Vegetable Garden!

June 23, 2015

Project: Create a Vegetable Garden (Dinosaurs Optional)

I always knew Bonitots had to have a vegetable garden. What better way to introduce the tots to life cycles, the environment, healthy eating, not wasting food, insects and a multitude of other wholesome ideas than letting them forage for fruit and veg with their own chubby wee hands? I also decided to add in a dash of creativity, imagination and excitement by making it double as a dinosaur garden (as we all know, the only thing better than a vegetable garden is a dinosaur vegetable garden – right?)

All the standard options were either expensive / likely to result in crops crushed by over eager tots / boring / all three. Pinterest, that font of all creative wisdom, came charging to the rescue, giving me the brilliant idea of using old tyres (I HEART RECYCLING!). Tyres! With fruit and veg tumbling out of them! And dinosaurs roaming amongst the fruit and veg! What’s not to like?!!
After that, it was all pretty straightforward. Basically, get tyres, put in some compost and plant your plants. If, however, anybody is interested, here is a step by step guide:

Step 1: Collect tyres for free from local garage. Spend ages arranging them into a pattern that works and debating the various options with your husband / any other interested party. N.B. Choose a sunny spot in the garden for your creation. The baby can help with this by standing up against the tyres and screeching / laughing.

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Step 2: Go to a garden centre (we went to Thompsons Plant and Garden Centre on Shooters Hill Road – absolutely marvellous). Find a person who works there. Show them pictures of your project so far and beg for their advice. Take said advice. (Our wonderful help-y person took us around the place showing us which things would be easiest and best for children to grow, and even drew a little picture of our tyre layout with arrows and labels and things!). You will need to buy some combination of the following, depending on how you want to do things:

Fruit / veg plants (take advice on which are best for you. We went for broad beans, pumpkins, red peppers, a hardy and easy to care for brand of tomatoes, strawberries, lots of herbs and a hebe plant as a centrepiece. We also got some hardy perennials for a shady corner of our garden, but that’s another (equally thrilling) story).

Lining stuff to put in the tyres

Compost (we bought 450 litres for our five small and three large tyres)

Canes or equivalent if your plants include climbers

Our haul of plants

Our haul of plants

Step 3: Fill the bottom layer of tyres with the compost. (We added some bits of wood across the joins between tyres to support the second tier. No idea if this is necessary but it definitely made me feel thrifty and resourceful.) Babies can help with this (their help may involve clambering over the tyres, rubbing their little fat hands in the soil and / or banging together spent plant pots. Warning: little hands will get muddy, and they will love it).

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Step 4: Cut the lining to size. Put it inside the tyres for the second layer of the vegetable garden. Note: to keep the lining in place, pack the compost inside the rim of the tyre before filling the gap with compost. We initially tried staple gunning the lining to the tyre but had to abort mission when the staple gun gave up the ghost, quite reasonably.

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Step 5: Repeat above for all the layers of tyres.

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Step 6: Attempt to decipher the note from the amazing help-y person at the garden centre and start planting your plants accordingly. Stop occasionally to squeal / jump up and down / admire your handiwork.

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Step 7: Water, and enjoy.

The strawberries taste AMAZING by the way.

ESSENTIAL Step 8: Add your dinosaurs! We haven’t done this yet (we’re still sourcing our dinosaurs) but we are very excited about it.

Optional step 9: Decorate the tyres with pictures / words / paintings. We are going to label them in English and Spanish with the names of the fruit / veg therein. We are going to do so initially with chalk pens and see how long it takes for the rain to wash the paint off. If it happens very quickly, we will look at a more permanent option. Ideas welcome!

Yay for our vegetable garden!

Ooh, one more thing – we are also planning to put hanging baskets of cascading tomatoes on our fence and add a grow bag of potatoes to our garden at some point.

Okay, that’s really it now.

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