WHAT TO GROW
LIZ POTTER Editor, Garden Answers Waiting for seeds to germinate can be deadly dull when you’re small, so to keep children interested it’s best to give them seeds that are easy to handle, and ones that are also quick to sprout. Mustard and cress seeds are a good windowsill project and can be sown at any time. Wash out an almost intact boiled egg shell and fill it with damp cotton wool. Draw a smiley face on the front and sprinkle the seeds on the cotton wool. Keep the cotton wool damp and they’ll quickly sprout like green hair from the eggshell. Sunflowers are easy to handle and quick to germinate. Start seeds off by early June in containers of damp compost on an outdoor table and sow lots, to account for losses to snails and slugs. Go for giant cultivars such as ‘Russian Giant’ (8-10ft) and ‘Mongolian Giant’ (14ft) for most impressive results. Plant out the seedlings in a sunny border when they’re large enough to handle and don’t forget to stake them as they grow so they don’t topple over in the breeze. Make sure they don’t go dry during periods of drought and leave the seedheads for the birds after they’ve begun to fade.