Summer Holiday Garden Projects: Make a Sleeping Giant Garden Bed

If you are looking for summer holiday projects that you could take on with your kids while they are off school, then why not consider making a new growing area that looks like a sleeping giant. Young kids will love the creativity of this idea, and enjoy designing the planting scheme to create the giant's clothes, hair and face. And since you could include plenty of edible plants in the design, this could be great for the whole family. It's not too late to start sowing right now, so why not making growing your own food fun with this fun garden project idea this weekend?

The first step in making your sleeping giant is marking out the shape of his or her body on the ground. You can do this on your lawn, or on existing soil beds. You could make your sleeping giant as big or as small as you wish, so this is a project that you could take on in almost any garden, no matter how large or small it may be.

Building up the giant's body uses the techniques of hugelkultur. The first stage is placing piles of partially rotted logs, brush and branches in heaps. This is the 'skeleton' of your sleeping giant.

On top of this woody material, you should next add layers of 'brown' and 'green' compostable material (grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, straw, cardboard...) much as you would build up the layers in a compost heap.

Once these layers are in place, and the rough shape of your giant is beginning to emerge, you should finish by adding a layer of soil and compost around and on top of the other materials, firming it down and watering it well.

You can now place plants or sow seeds onto the form of your sleeping giant. Seeds that you could still consider sowing at the beginning of the school holidays for edible crops are loose leaf lettuces, peas, radishes, spring onions and other fast-growing crops. You could also sow a meadow or wildflower mix to attract bees and other beneficial insects.

Where you place and sow your seeds will determine what your sleeping giant looks like. Selecting some bedding or plug plants to place as well as sowing some seeds will, of course, give you a more instant effect.

Amongst the plants you place and seeds you sow, kids may also enjoy placing stones, shells or other items for decoration, to give the giant his face or other features. You can let your kids take the lead and make decisions about what they want their giant to look like.

Later, your giant may need a 'haircut', as you have fun harvesting some of the edible elements that you have grown. The options for your giant's appearance are almost endless, and you and your kids can have fun watching as the giant's appearance changes over time.