You can’t beat nature for improving health and never more so your children’s health. It’s time to ditch the iPad and computer games and encourage our children to spend time with mother nature.
Spending time outside in the garden growing a fun playhouse that will continue to grow year after year is something your children to grow with and learn to love.
The Runner Bean “Tepee” Den
One of the easiest to do and you get some yummy runner beans to boot so an all-round winner.
What You Need:
8 – 10 long bamboo canes (6 – 7 feet minimum).
Gardening string or a cable tie or similar.
A packet of runner bean seeds.
Large roll of gardening string or a roll of chicken wire (optional).
Find a spare area of the garden, either on a border or on the lawn. You’ll have to remove a small area of lawn to plant the seeds.
Put your bamboo canes securely into the ground in a tepee formation, remembering to leave a large gap between two canes as this will be the entrance. Secure the tops with garden twine.
Then make a network of twine covering the tepee so that as your runner beans grow that has something to grow around.
Dig one square foot (12″x 12″ and 12″ deep) around the bases of the bamboo canes.
Add compost and/or well-rotted manure.
Poke two holes approximately 1 – 2 inches deep at the base of each cane.
Drop one runner bean seed into each hole and fill the hole with water. Once the water has drained away gently drag soil back over the holes and then water again thoroughly. (Runner Beans seeds can also be started off in 3″ pots and transplanted when they reach about 6″ tall).
Watch out for slugs with your seedlings, once they reach about 6 inches tall they should be safe, but keep checking for pests.
If your runner beans prove to have a mind of their own which is nature’s way, gently wrap the shoots around the cane and your network of wires they will soon adhere and continue to grow.
Keep the tepee area clear of weeds and water frequently, now watch as the tepee grows. Your children will have fun play in the shade of the runner beans and when its time to harvest a great way to encourage them to eat their greens.
Remember to keep harvesting the beans regularly; this encourages the plants to continue flowering.
Start growing early and this playhouse will last most of Spring to the end of the Summer.
The Willow Den
This playhouse is permanent, so select your location carefully.
This playhouse is best built on moist soil because willow roots like moisture.
You will need:
A large bundle of a mixture of one and two-year-old long green willow rods about 6 feet long.
Straw for the base. This needs to be changed regularly.
First, lay your straw across the surface of the area you intend to grow your children’s playhouse.
Two and three-year-old rods are best for creating the base because of their height. Punch holes (approx 2 – 3″ in diameter) through the areas in the straw or mat where your rods need to be planted.
This creates the frame of your playhouse. Place the longest rods and tie the tops together, like a teepee. Don’t forget to leave space for an entrance.
Use the two-year-old rods as uprights and one-year-old rods as the diagonal weave.
The top of the den will be open at first. New growth will gradually close the gap and can be woven and tied for winter maintenance in the following years.