LITTLE beats seeing your children get the gardening bug. As with everything, it's best to sow the seed when children are young and curious. And, even if they lose interest in their teens, they often come back to it later.

My older son was always interested in plants and gardening and is now a professor of plant sciences in Switzerland. His younger brother was a tougher nut to crack, solemnly announcing at the age of five that he had given up gardening. But, now in his 30s and with his own garden, he’s hooked. No sooner had he moved into his new house than he’d planted gooseberries and blackcurrants, constructed a raised bed and found a place in the sun for his compost bin.

I was therefore delighted to see Gardening Scotland will be encouraging youngsters to start gardening at next weekend’s show, encouraging families to come by giving free admission to under 16s. Several organisations will be supporting the initiative – the Royal Horticultural Society, the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (or the Caley) and Dynamic Earth, with Ayr Beekeepers.

Children love finding out how and why things work. When visiting primary schools in the Borders as part of a council-led initiative a few years ago, I quickly discovered the pupils were enthralled by the humble compost worm – even worldly-wise 11-year-old girls. Living creatures always fascinate them.

Dynamic Earth and Ayr Beekeepers’ demonstration in the Big Back Garden is sure to appeal. Visitors will learn all about how bees live and work and beekeepers will show them the inside of a real hive.

Information always sticks when children are active participants rather than spectators. Next weekend the beekeepers will let them sample honey, the result of all the bees’ work, and they can have a go at making candles with pure beeswax.

The RHS is also trying to get youngsters involved by running edible hanging basket workshops in the Gardening Theatre at 11am on Saturday and Sunday. Liz Stewart, RHS development manager for Scotland, tells me, "Growing edibles in hanging baskets is an excellent way to get children started in gardening, as well as encouraging them to eat what they grow – it’s a virtuous circle." The baskets will be planted up in different ways, including mixed salads, tumbling tomatoes, chillis, herbs and edible flowers.

Intriguingly, the RHS has also joined forces with students from Scotland’s Rural College to offer a free hands-on workshop on making Japanese kokedamas, or decorative tied moss balls, which have been all the rage for a couple of years. Moss is wrapped round a ball of soil and planted up with succulents and then hung around the home and garden. They’re like mini hanging baskets with a difference.

The RHS hopes to attract children of all ages, but the Caley is aiming its hands-on sessions at primary schoolchildren. The society's David Knott wants youngsters to start enjoying gardening by getting their hands dirty sowing seeds that they will take home to look after.

Both the RHS and the Caley are keen for parents to come to the sessions as well. I know from working with children on gardening and composting projects that they do need support and backing to keep the enthusiasm going beyond the early stages. But it can work the other way, with children inspiring their parents. I know of some parents who were badgered into buying a wormery for their children and ended up just as keen as their offspring. Parents beware.