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Gardening workshops in Chennai for children

Chennai has a plethora of 'green' activities for children. Discover all the eco-friendly projects that children can be a part of. Help children connect to nature Provide them opportunities that will make them aware of the environment. Prepare them for tomorrow. Help make them better world citizens.

I have fond memories of my daddy, tending to his collection of potted plants, on the terrace of our government accommodation. It was perhaps then that the seeds of gardening were sown in me. Everyone said, my daddy had green fingers (and I recall, a young me, looking at his hands, to spot the green). My father had a passion for gardening, and he inadvertently passed on the same to my brother and me. We grew up loving plants and enjoying greenery around us. Plants were everywhere in our home – outside the main door, in the long corridor leading to the hall, in the hall, in the bathroom, on the kitchen sill and even in our bedrooms, and not to forget the terrace.

Having always been around plants, I am as passionate about them as my daddy was. Which is why I think every young child should experience the joys of gardening. Gardening brings children close to nature, it gives them a purpose, makes them realise the need for human involvement for plants and trees to survive. It makes them want to protect them and save the environment. Did you know that gardening is also recommended for children with ADHD, it can be therapeutic.

Children must be encouraged to participate in tree plantation drives conducted by NGOs across Chennai. It makes them more sensitive to the environment and they'll grow up with the right attitude towards nature. Children can also be introduced to other interesting forms of gardening.

Introduce children to container gardening

Gardening can be fun, especially for children. Chennai is slowly being moulded into a concrete jungle, with open spaces giving way to multi-storeyed buildings. All apartment dwellers can boast of a balcony, a place where they can and should create their own green belt.

Create a balcony garden, and get your children involved in the project. Have a small section dedicated to kitchen gardening. You'll be surprised to know that most veggies can thrive in pots and containers. There is also a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you feel when your plants begin to bear fruit. It can be a great, new experience for children. Getting them close to nature, having them pick fresh veggies right at home. And, it's got health benefits too.

Vegetable gardens can be started in any open space, with as few as 5-6 pots. A balcony that receives a fair amount of sunlight is ideal for growing veggies.

To help you get started here is a lowdown on a few organisations that supply free material and/or tutorials for beginners.

Do it yourself kit

The State Government of Tamil Nadu provides 'Do it yourself kits', at a cost of Rs.500, under the Urban Development Horticulture Development Scheme (UHDS). It is an initiative, by the state to endorse vegetable gardening on terraces, among urban dwellers. The kit includes the following items –

  • Polythene sheets
  • Polythene grow bags
  • Water-soluble organic fertilisers
  • Organic fungicides and pesticides
  • Light weight coco peat containers
  • Light weight growing medium
  • Hybrid saplings
  • A step-by-step, do-it-yourself (DIY) handbook

Plant sapling in a coco peat pot

This kit can help a gardening novice set up their own terrace garden. It's a great investment, which gives your children an opportunity to experience the joy of growing their own vegetables and fruits. Also, there is an endless supply of homegrown, organic veggies and fruits available to you, all year round.

Visit the Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops website for more information.

Organic vegetable gardening

The Farm, in Semmencherry on the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), organises regular workshops, for children on the intricacies of organic vegetable farming. The workshop is a combination of a walk around, talk and practical hands-on farming experience. Children are taken on a tour around the farm, and the procedures and advantages of organic farming explained. It is a very educative and informative tour. The gardening session culminates with some practical experience in a garden patch.

The Farm, as the name suggests, is a grange, in the city. There are other fascinating activities conducted here, such as sessions on dairy farming with the how's and the when's and the why's explained. Interacting and grooming horses can be an unusual and enthralling experience. Apart from this, there is a fascinating talk about the coconut tree, where the significance of the palm and its varied uses are explained. A demonstration on coconut tree climbing by skilled and lithe tree climbers is yet another highlight of the interactive sessions. They also run a restaurant and children can try their hands at pizza making. Check the Website of The Farm for details on dates when the workshops are conducted.

Organic terrace gardening workshop

The organic terrace gardening workshops are held in Alwarpet, at the Ashvita Bistro. There are special sessions conducted for children, on a regular basis. The focus is to educate young minds to identify various soil mediums, seeds and plants. The sessions include lessons in the propagation of plants and composting.

More details about these sessions can be gathered over the telephone at #9791088189. Alternatively, you can drop in at the Ashvita Bistro located on Bawa Rd, in Alwarpet and enquire about their next workshop.

Terrarium Workshop

What do you do if there is a dearth of space, but you still want to get your kids interested in plants? Is there a way to accommodate plants in a small home? Well, the answer is a resounding yes. And Bloom and Grow can make it happen, and how.

They conduct workshops on how to create and maintain terrariums. What are terrariums you may wonder! A terrarium is an eco-system created in a glass bowl, much like the ones used for goldfish. Once you get started you'll realise that terrariums are zero maintenance and make fabulous focal pieces, at home. This is one project that'll have every child interested. To participate you will have to register at Bloom & Grow Chennai. Bloom & Grow also conducts candle making and soap making classes as well.

Organic Kitchen and Terrace Gardening

Vrksa Lifespaces of Porur holds classes on organic kitchen and terrace gardening. The sessions include various aspects of organic gardening, namely –

  • Proper location for an organic garden
  • Types of seeds
  • Care of seedlings
  • Manure
  • Compost
  • Nutrition
  • Soil
  • Pest management
  • Energy & water conservation
  • Tips on proper maintenance

You can find more details about the session at VRSKA

Horticulture Classes

Horticulture consultant Surya Narmada, of Valasarawakkam, holds classes for teens on the following –

  • Bonsai culture
  • Dish Garden
  • Indoor gardening
  • Terrariums
  • Terrace gardening
  • Kitchen gardening
  • Flower arrangement
  • Stress relieving activities called Horticulture Therapy
  • Other farming practices
. He can be contacted at # 09840213912 or via email - suryanarmada@gmail.com to schedule a class. Get your kids started on one of these activities

Gardening & composting workshop

Spaces of Ayanavaram conducts classes in ornamental as well as organic gardening, and holds sessions in composting, out of the kitchen and house waste. There are special classes held for children, to get them interested in the beautiful world of gardening and waste management.

Call # 8056173244 or mail shainikaspaces@gmail.com Spaces for detailed information on the workshops they conduct.

Spaces also has a personalised gardening programme that involves children. Labelled 'Green Planet'eers' the programme encourages children to educate themselves on their immediate natural surroundings. They learn to recognise the native varieties of flora, their herbal uses and how they can be protected.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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