Spring officially starts on March 20! Here at Keep Prince William Beautiful, we look forward to warmer weather and sunnier days. As the ground defrosts, it is time to start thinking about spring gardening. Home gardening helps encourage sustainable thinking and provides a way to use household waste in a creative manner.   

The environment is on everyone’s minds at the moment. If you have a garden, and are looking for COVID-19 safe activities, you have an opportunity to contribute to protecting the natural world. Here are several eco-friendly and sustainable activities that the whole family can enjoy. Even better, most of these activities only require resources you probably already have around the house. Please click on the provided links for the full activity instructions.

Activity # 1: Kitchen Scrap Gardening from Kids Gardening

Kitchen Scraps 300x300 - Fun, Environmentally Friendly Gardening Activities

Help the planet and clean up your kitchen, this activity uses kitchen scraps to start a garden and showcases where food comes from.

With minimal effort you can devise imaginative indoor gardens using your kitchen leftovers! Kitchen scrap gardening involves growing plants from items you would normally throw in your compost bucket. This great activity showcases the sustainable living concepts of recycling and reusing.

Required Materials

  • Vegetable and fruit scraps (oranges, lemons, limes, sweet potatoes, avocados, carrots, beets, onions, and ginger work well)
  • Growing containers or egg cartons
  • Potting soil
  • Water

Activity # 2: Soil Art from Kids Gardening

Soil Art 300x300 - Fun, Environmentally Friendly Gardening Activities

Did you know soil comes in multiple colors? Soil is a natural colorant and you can create beautiful art. You can find soil in a wide range of colors depending upon where you live. Even the color difference between potting soil and backyard dirt creates an interesting contrast. People have used soil to create art for centuries, examples include pottery, primitive cave art, and natural cloth dye.  Explore soil art by making your own paint.

Required Materials

  • soil (If possible, find samples in a diversity of colors)
  • a surface to dry your soil
  • tools to crush soil
  • a sieve and/or panty hose to sift soil
  • glue
  • water
  • cups and plates
  • watercolor paper
  • paintbrushes of any size

Activity #3: How To Start Seeds In Egg Cartons At Home From Gardening Know How

Egg Carton 300x300 - Fun, Environmentally Friendly Gardening Activities

Instead of throwing out your egg cartons, use them to jumpstart your garden this year. Or introduce a friend to gardening using materials they probably already have at home. Seed starting can take a lot of time and resources, but you can inexpensively germinate seeds in egg cartons. Egg cartons are small, already compartmentalized, and easy to handle and use. You can also write directly on the egg carton to keep your seeds organized.

Required Materials:

  • seed packets
  • cardboard egg cartons
  • scissors
  • sharp knife
  • potting soil 
  • water mister
  • plastic wrap or vegetable bag from the grocery store

Activity #4: Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder From Fireflies And Mudpies

Bird Feeder 1 300x300 - Fun, Environmentally Friendly Gardening Activities

Birds help germinate plants and keep your bug population down. Instead of buying a bird feeder, try making one from a toilet paper or paper towel roll. This is a simple craft that is easy, fun, and uses materials you already have at home.

Required Materials:

  • Cardboard tubes
  • Vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • Butter knives or popsicle sticks
  • Birdseed
  • Twine

Activity # 5: Build a Bird Feeder With a Plastic Bottle From PBS Kids

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If you have a lot of plastic bottles, you can use them to make a bird feeder! Some examples of bird food are insects, worms, fruit, nectar, and birdseed. It might be easiest to begin with birdseed. A bird feeder will encourage birds to visit your garden regularly.

Required Materials:

  • 2-liter plastic bottle (other sizes are perfectly acceptable. Use what you have!)
  • Twine or wire
  • 1 set of chopsticks
  • Scissors or a knife
  • Duct tape
  • Funnel
  • Birdseed

Activity #6: Compost Heap. Instructions are available from Gardening Know How

Compost 300x300 - Fun, Environmentally Friendly Gardening Activities

Recycling green waste is important, too – homemade compost costs nothing to make, and will save money on bagged compost and soil conditioner from garden centers. While composting costs nothing, purchasing a compost container will help keep the pile organized. You can also use any outdoor safe container you have on hand.

What to add to your compost?

  • lawn clippings
  • wood ash
  • hedge trimmings
  • vegetable peelings
  • tea bags
  • egg boxes / cartons
  • leaves
  • shredded newspaper and cardboard
  • vacuum cleaner contents

Items to keep out of your compost

  • Meat, dairy, fat or oil products
  • Carnivorous pet feces (dogs, cats, etc..)
  • Diseased plants, or weeds that have seeded
  • Human waste
  • Charcoal or coal ash (wood ash is ok)

Sustainability is not complicated! As these activities show, you can start practicing sustainability easily. One way to reduce environmental and household waste is to reuse and adapt items we already own instead of buying new. Making a few changes at home will have long term environmental impacts. We hope you enjoy these activities. Thank you for helping us to Keep Prince William Beautiful!