I must admit there’s only a couple of aspects of growing your own that makes me happy, the major one being I get free (at the time) food! And it tastes so much better when you (or someone else) has grown it and it’s picked fresh. The other thing that makes me happy is seeing my children enjoy picking and selecting the produce and educating them in where and how fruit and veg grows. I also get satisfaction knowing my husband has an outlet and a hobby that he enjoys. When the weather’s nice and there’s stuff to pick I’m quite happy down at our allotment, I even enjoy weeding sometimes but on the whole I leave the bulk of the work to him as that’s his thing. Which brings me on to making your husband happy – it keeps him active, he enjoys having complete control over his own space, seeing his plans come to life, it also gives him time on his own and his own space. I try as much as possible to ‘let’ him (he’s his own person!) have as much time as he needs there which makes him happier therefore makes me happier! The time he spends there varies according to the seasons. I do get fed up with seed trays and potatoes chitting (no that is spelled right) around the house but it’s a small price to pay for a bit of harmony. In return he’s more likely to do things for me or let me have ‘me’ time.
Yesterday we had a lovely time at our allotment where we grow our own produce – the most successful being beetroot, sweetcorn, carrots, parsnips, squashes, courgettes, artichokes, tomatoes, chillies, potatoes, herbs and berries.
Baby D loved looking around and now he’s more grabby he nabbed a tomato leaf to explore! I tried to get him to smell some lavender – herbs make a great sensory experience for children of all ages and especially children with special needs – but he was more interested in eating it!
It was all too much for him after a while though and he called it a day.
Luckily he’s really happy in my rose and rebellion carrier and had a lovely snuggly nap whilst we finished off.
Phoebe and William may not always choose to come, but when they do they love it! Phoebe decided to wear her version of an appropriate outfit and shoes (not her first choice of shoes but let’s not go there)
The joy and happiness on their faces is priceless. They all enjoy the fresh air, the peaceful atmosphere of the allotments and they take such pride in having a little bit of land apart from the garden that’s all theirs. We taught them early on where to tread and where not to, which can be difficult in the toddler years, just keep visits brief! The best part for them is picking stuff – get them really involved by making a big deal of pulling up the carrots, picking tomatoes – digging for potatoes becomes like searching for buried treasure. Your own fruit and veg often grows in amusing shapes so there’s always a laugh and children have such vivid imaginations they see characters in everything, some veg we’ve never eaten just played with! They’re also more likely to eat it as well when they’ve seen where it comes from and taken part in bringing it home (doesn’t always work but I live in hope).
Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have their own allotment, or a garden, but growing your own doesn’t have to be on a grand scale, here are some ideas to start:
- A simple herb pot or planter which can be grown on a windowsill
- Grass heads – remember those?
- Cress pots either from the supermarket or grown from seed
- Strawberry plants in pots or a hanging basket
- Potato grow bags
- Tomatoes grown from a compost bag
- Sprouting shoots on a clay plate e.g beansprouts or peashoots
- Chilli plants in small pots – easy and quick to grow
If you do decide to go for an allotment, they’re available to anyone, just find your local one, there’s often a waiting list but the cost is minimal to rent (approximately £10-£20 a year). You can start with a small plot and see how it goes, you need seeds or starter plants and some gardening equipment but be warned it does take a lot of work not only planting and picking but maintenance is important not just for the plants but if you don’t keep up with the weeding and let your plot go the management committee can throw you off!
Happy Growing x
What do you grow and how do you get your family involved? I’d love to hear from you.