Exciting things to make for you and the wildlife
Click on one of the bars below and find out how to make some great things for the garden.
Create a Veggie Patch from Recycled Tyres
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Use recycled tyres to create a raised bed for kids to grow their own veggies. Positioning three tyres in a triangle will allow smaller children greater access and you could plant flowers in the centre section or even have sweet peas, peas or beans climbing up poles. Make sure the kids are growing something that they will eat at the end.
 
What You Need
  • Old tyres (cleaned) – just use one, or make a big veggie patch with five or six
  • Paint – make sure it’s outdoor paint that can be used on rubber
  • Compost / soil
  • Seeds / young plants
 
How To Do It
 
1 First paint your tyres – just the outside edge and the top rim (not right up to the edge of the rim – leave a 2cm edging to prevent any flaking paint getting into the soil. Leave them to dry. You could paint each tyre a different colour and plant a vegetable of that colour in it to remind the kids what colour their vegetables will be eg orange / carrots : red / radishes : green / lettuce.
   
2 Find a sunny, sheltered space in the garden that is easily accessible for kids. This doesn’t need to be in an existing vegetable patch – you can always use a corner of the lawn.Position your tyres – make a triangle from three, or a zig-zag with more.
   
3 Remove any grass or weeds that are positioned under your tyres so that you have fresh soil to put your compost on to. Fill each tyre with compost. Or to reduce cost, add soil from the garden (weed-free) to the bottom half of the tyre and top up with compost.
   
4 Gently pat down the compost. Your veggie patch is now ready for planting. Sow directly with seeds or young plants.
 
Notes for Grown-Up Helpers
  • When painting the tyres, you can always encourage the kids to get really artistic by painting patterns or flowers. Or if you don’t want to use paint, decorate the tyres by winding old rope around them or gluing shells or pebbles to them.
  • Plant veggies such as radishes or salad leaves that grow quickly to keep the kids interest.
 
Make a Hedgehog Feeding Station
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Hedgehogs are lovely animals to have in the garden, and they eat some of the pests that damage plants. There are plenty of tasty treats you can leave out for them that you will find in your own kitchen. To keep food dry and protect from cats and foxes, why not make a simple hedgehog feeding station.
 
What You Need
  • An old plastic or wooden box
  • Bricks – 2 or 3
  • Shallow feeding dishes (saucers are ideal as long as they don’t tip up)
  • Food - see below
  • Sharp knife or saw - grown-ups only!
 
How To Do It
 
1 To encourage hedgehogs in to your garden, leave out piles of leaves and twigs that they can nest in.
   
2 To make the hedgehog feeding station, cut a small entrance in one of the shorter sides - about 13cm x 13cm (5” x 5”). You will need to get your grown-up helper to do this part! An old shoebox would also work, but would have to be replaced frequently as it would get damp.
   
3 When it is starting to get dark, place dishes of food and water in the area of your garden where you think you have hedgehog activity. Turn your box upside down and place over the food to keep it dry. The small entrance will allow hedgehogs in, but keep cats and foxes out. Place 2 or 3 bricks on top of the box to weigh it down.
   
4 Check under your box first thing in the morning to see if you have had any visitors during the night – any leftover food must be thrown away and dishes cleaned.
   
5 If you have a camcorder with a night vision setting, you can try and see the hedgehogs in your garden after dark by looking out of a window through the camcorder.
 
What to Feed Hedgehogs
  • Do not give hedgehogs bread and milk – this is very important as it can make the hedgehogs ill.
  • The best things to feed hedgehogs are:
    - Tinned cat or dog food – meat flavoured (not in gravy)
    - Meat flavoured cat or dog biscuits
    - Specific hedgehog food (Spike’s Dinner)
    - Diced leftover cooked meat – chop up very small
    - Raw mince
    - Chopped peanuts (not salted), sultanas or raisins
    - Chopped unsweetened digestive biscuits
    - Moistened muesli
    - Lots of water from shallow bowls sunk into the ground around your garden
 
Notes for Grown-Up Helpers
  • Hedgehogs mainly eat beetles and caterpillars – only a very small amount of slugs and snails. Hedgehogs only eat slugs and snails when very hungry, but can catch a nasty infestation from slugs called lungworm, which can kill a hedgehog in not much more than three weeks. Feeding the hedgehogs in your garden can help their survival.
  • Feed hedgehogs at dusk (when there are no flies around to land on the food) and remover leftover food in the morning. The food is best given under cover to prevent rain getting to it and also cats and foxes.
  • Remember – putting food down is not a guarantee that you will have hedgehogs in your garden. They need to be able to get into the garden first. So if you have perfect fencing with no gaps, you won’t get any hedgehogs.
  • If you start feeding hedgehogs in your garden, you must keep feeding them every night, all year round. If you have hedgehogs hibernating in a special house in your garden, leave a bowl of water and some biscuits out in the entrance tunnel.
  • Never use slug pellets or pesticides in your garden if you intend to feed hedgehogs
 
Make Your Own Fatballs for the Birds
Download Instructions to Print
fat ball

 

This is a fun way to get the kids interested in feeding the birds in your garden. Make fat balls by kneading together soft lard, nuts and seeds. It can be very messy so you could always do it in the garden on a dry day.

What You Need
  • Lard
  • Birdseeds and nuts
  • Thick string or gardening wire – about 50cm long
  • Twigs – two about 10cm long and two about 6cm long

 

 
How To Do It
 
1
twigs & wire
Make a cross out of the two longer twigs. Using one end of the string or wire, tie it around the center of the twigs a few times and tie a knot (or twist if using wire) so that the twigs do not move. Do the same with the shorter twigs and tie about 4cm above the longer twigs. You should now have a large cross at the bottom of your string for the birds to perch on, and a smaller cross to mould the lard and seeds around.
   
2
fat ball ingredients
In a large bowl, soften the lard so it is soft and cool to touch. You could leave in the sun, or heat for a very short time in the microwave (grown-ups only). Add the birdseeds and nuts a small amount at a time and knead in to the lard – very messy! It’s a good idea to wear an apron.
   
3
mixing ingredients
Keep adding the seeds and nuts until you have a consistency that is reasonably solid (mouldable), but not so dry that it will fall apart.
   
4
moulding fat ball
Mould the mixture (like play dough) around the smaller cross in the shape of a ball. The bottom of the ball should rest on the center of the larger cross. Leave to cool and harden.
   
5
finished fat ball
Hang from a tree branch or hook in the garden – leaving about 15cm of string from the top of the fat ball.
 
Notes for Grown-Up Helpers
  • This is much safer for children than using hot oil to make fat balls - and more hands-on.
  • If using the microwave to soften the lard, take extra care to make sure that no part of the lard is hot before letting children touch it.
  • If you don’t fancy using the twigs and string, just get the kids to make balls and fill the old net bags that bought fat balls come in.
 
What to Feed Hedgehogs
Download Instructions to Print
Hedgehogs are lovely animals to have in the garden, and they eat some of the pests that damage plants. There are plenty of tasty treats you can leave out for them that you will find in your own kitchen.
 
What to Feed Hedgehogs
  • Do not give hedgehogs bread and milk – this is very important as it can make the hedgehogs ill.
  • The best things to feed hedgehogs are:
    - Tinned cat or dog food – meat flavoured (not in gravy)
    - Meat flavoured cat or dog biscuits
    - Specific hedgehog food (Spike’s Dinner)
    - Diced leftover cooked meat – chop up very small
    - Raw mince
    - Chopped peanuts (not salted), sultanas or raisins
    - Chopped unsweetened digestive biscuits
    - Moistened muesli
    - Lots of water from shallow bowls sunk into the ground around your garden
 
Notes for Grown-Up Helpers
  • Hedgehogs mainly eat beetles and caterpillars – only a very small amount of slugs and snails. Hedgehogs only eat slugs and snails when very hungry, but can catch a nasty infestation from slugs called lungworm, which can kill a hedgehog in not much more than three weeks. Feeding the hedgehogs in your garden can help their survival.
  • Feed hedgehogs at dusk (when there are no flies around to land on the food) and remover leftover food in the morning. The food is best given under cover to prevent rain getting to it and also cats and foxes.
  • Remember – putting food down is not a guarantee that you will have hedgehogs in your garden. They need to be able to get into the garden first. So if you have perfect fencing with no gaps, you won’t get any hedgehogs.
  • If you start feeding hedgehogs in your garden, you must keep feeding them every night, all year round. If you have hedgehogs hibernating in a special house in your garden, leave a bowl of water and some biscuits out in the entrance tunnel.
  • Never use slug pellets or pesticides in your garden if you intend to feed hedgehogs