Here’s a great, simple idea to get the kids involved in your backyard gardening. Build a mini maze in the style of a hedge maze using broad beans. Broad beans are hardy and easy to grow. They produce large, upright plants that are perfect for building walls. Plant a row of beans next to each other and watch as your maze slowly takes shape. This will be a rewarding experience for your kids, but will also offer a nice secluded area for you to relax in your garden.
Here’s how to do it:
- Map out your maze. What’s it going to look like? Will it be circular or square? Rectangular or triangular? How many twists and turns will it have? Maybe you want to go for a single area and make it a kind of cubby house.
When you know how your maze it going to look in general, map it out onto a piece of paper. When you’re ready to move it into the garden, mark out the walls of your maze by pegging in some string. Make sure there is enough room between the walls for you and your kids to move freely.
- Prepare the soil. Dig up the soil along the lines indicating your walls. Allow about 15 centimetres each side of the string.
- Plant your broad beans. Press a hole into the soil about 5 cm deep and insert the broad beans. For general planting, it’s recommended you space them about 18 cm from each other. Because we want to build a wall, we’ll give them less that half this space. Plant the seeds about 5 centimetres from each other. The plants will be crowded when they grow, but this produces a much thicker wall.
- Put in stakes. Your aim is to grow your bean plants as tall as possible. To prevent snapping, you will need to install stakes that the bean plants can be anchored to as they grow. When your plants are a foot or two tall, basic string can be used to attach the plant to the stake for support.
- Water the soil and keep it free of weeds.
Pretty simple! As your plants grow, your maze will become more exciting and more secluded. It’s a great way of teaching your kids about the wonder and versatility of gardening.