Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Gardening with children

The next day the plan was to get out onto the plot as soon as possible in the morning but once again other things demanded attention and whilst I dealt with the housework, Steve mended a puncture on our youngest's bike. So it was after lunch before Steve headed off to the allotment with the rotavator, hoping to make the most of last night's heavy rain.

My first gardening task was to water the indoor vegetables. The tomatoes from Wilkinson's have now reached the roof of the conservatory (no, they aren't monsters, they are on a high windowsill!). After watering them I also had to tie them again to their canes but they clearly need repotting and I'm wondering what is best to do with them before I can safely put them outside. My tray of windowsill salad is now big enough to eat and I really ought to sow a fresh batch to replace them.

Having done that I set up a potting station in the garden and set to sowing some tender crops - sweetcorn, tomatoes, brassicas and cucurbits. At first my daughters were inside, playing on the computer, but it wasn't long before my eldest appeared, asking if she could help. She's a very sensible 6 year old and is actually quite helpful and of course I love to involve her in it. So together we sowed the tomatoes and the brassicas, which turned out well because as she popped in the seeds I could write a label and the whole things was quicker. The labels, by the way, I'd made from cut up bits of yoghurt pot and they work well because they are small enough to fit into the module trays and still put a propagator lid over the top.

Before I had finished my youngest appeared, having been chased out of the house by a confused honeybee. I released the bee and then helped her sow some cucurbit seeds. Then it was time to join Steve on the allotment.

Whilst he continued to rotavate and build more raised beds, I tackled more weeding. With the soil moistened by the rain it was relatively easy to fork the ground over. My new trug proved useful to throw the weeds in as I went. Even my eldest decided weeding looked like fun and she asked if she could help. She stuck at it for about 10 minutes before declaring that it was harder than it looked and gave up. So young to have discovered that weeding is difficult! Still, even 10 minutes of help is better than none. In the meantime my youngest, whose favourite colour is yellow, asked if was OK to go around the site picking dandelions - she guessed that people wouldn't mind if she picked them because they were just weeds. I agreed and off she went, returning later with a beautiful yellow bouquet.

That's the funny thing about gardening with children... don't expect too much but they can provide help in their own way. Of course, what you can teach them and what they can learn is far more important than any help they might provide.

No comments:

Post a Comment