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Getting your Kids into Gardening

When I was growing up, my mum, a keen and avid gardener, tried countless times to get me interested in gardening but I wasn't having any of it. Now that I've found my green fingers, luckily my daughter is pleased to join me

09/07/2014

 

As a youngster, trees were for climbing, roses for making murky rose petal perfume and as for digging in mud - well that had several purposes: to look for buried treasure, to bury the remains of dead mice and birds that the cat had dragged in, and to find worms. But planting pretty flowers and pulling up weeds? Forget it! I was far too busy.

Nowadays, having young kids myself, I can see just where my mum was coming from. To my surprise, I have finally developed an interest in gardening and can appreciate its soothing, therapeutic appeal.

The joy of gardening

It started with growing things I could eat and moved on to pretty baskets and pots, overflowing with colourful blooms. I now even plant bulbs and seeds, carefully timed to erupt into a cascade of colour at different times each season, ensuring the garden always has 'something going on'. (Now I really am sounding like my mother!)

I love the way gardening has the ability to munch several hours out of your day too, without you even noticing. Before you know it, it's getting dusky, your back aches and you realise you haven't ironed the kids' school uniforms or put the dinner on. But the sense of achievement is just fantastic as you look around and admire your handiwork - so who cares?

Eating the fruits of your labour

Luckily, my daughter seems to have caught the gardening bug much earlier than I did. As I type, we have tomatoes, raspberries, peppers and courgettes growing, along with tubs of parsley, mint and thyme. After school, the first thing she does is check on her plants - to see how they are doing, and more importantly, to see what she can pick off and eat.

At her school they have the most fantastic key stage 2 gardening club which she is keen to join next term. This has been so successful that they are the proud recipients of a Chelsea Flower show silver award, and Waitrose now even sell some of their produce in an effort to get kids into gardening.

For a few years now, a neighbour just outside the school has been growing fruit and vegetable plants, which he places on a table outside his garden gate. Next to this is an honesty box so parents or anyone passing can buy whatever they like, with all proceeds going to charity. This has also been hugely successful, and what a lovely thing to do!

Gardening over the summer

With the long summer holidays looming, I will definitely be using gardening as an anti-boredom device and a chance for my daughter to hone her knowledge before going back to school in September.

Providing they survive the countless stray footballs, tennis balls and frisbees that will inevitably get lobbed their way, we should have some nice late summer fruit and veg to harvest, as well as Halloween pumpkins to look forward to.

I just need to convince my son that the garden isn't a football pitch. I don't hold out much hope!

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

 
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