Gardening with children

I have brassicas (purple-sprouting broccoli, cavolo nero, cauliflower, kale, the splendid red ruben Brussels sprout and cabbages) that I’ve grown from seed and been keen to plant out for a while as they’re desperate to leave the confines of their pots. Having dutifully munched our way through two rows of charlotte potatoes, their time had come. I added some extra compost from the heap to the newly cleared ground, forked it in and just needed to compact the area to suit the brassicas. I found the perfect tool. Just as Ruby’s fingers are ideal for squashing into focaccia dough, making little hollows for olive oil, her feet in wellies are ideal for compacting soil.

gardening with children

She thought it was brilliant that jumping all over the ground was going to help plants grow. Her yellow wellies were soon trampling happily, flattening the area nicely.

While my daughter was in ‘gardening’ mood, I thought I’d get the leeks out. Grown from seed in little modules (I have to admit they were sown quietly one evening by myself), again they were desperately in need of transplanting.

Ruby loved snipping the leeks shorter with her scissors, hopefully meaning we’ll get more of the tender white end, rather than all the growth being green. Using a dibber to make holes for the leeks and dropping them in, proved a good enough game to keep her interested. And watering the holes, seeing the soil cave in around the little leek plants, is nicely akin to mud pie making for both of us.

gardening with children

Of course our leeks are planted out too late, some have already been trampled over and we definitely won’t win any gold medals for our cabbages. I’ll be amazed if Ruby remembers that the instruction to, “jump all over the cabbage area, they’ll love it, it’ll help them grow” applies only before the brassicas are planted out. But we had good fun on a relatively sunny afternoon, and having been involved in planting them, you never know, Ruby may feel a little more favourably towards her greens.

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