April and the first half of May have been a mixed bag in terms of both weather and gardening. As our plants are growing nicely (mostly!) I feel the need to take stock of what we have achieved so far and what I have learnt during the last few months gardening with my two little girls.
After planning a lovely flower border with my eldest, she completely lost interest. It is only in the last month or so that she has rekindled her curiosity for gardening and we have enjoyed some lovely hours re-potting some of the veggies for her part of the vegetable patch and we have finally seeded the flowers for her border. As you can see from the photos below the red sunflowers and cosmos have all started growing but for the second time in a row we have failed to grow the zinnias (anyone knows why?). We also have a really healthy tray of veggie plants, some for mummy (tomatoes, dill and squash) and some for the girls (mangetout, pumpkins and cucumbers). A few of the vegetables have even made into the ground this weekend! The potatoes that we chitted earlier in the year are also doing extremely well in their containers and we have slightly cheated by buying a couple of watermelon plants (the girls were desperate to get them!).
So what have I learnt about gardening with children from the last few months?
- Planning is futile or at least be prepared for both success and failure: various times my carefully crafted plans have been blown off by either unplanned events (sickness, weather etc.) or by more attractive activities like riding their bikes or watching a new movie
- My children are only interested in plants that they have a connection with e.g. like eating what they produce, are strange or really beautiful. Neither of them have shown any care for my tomato plants because they don’t like tomatoes but they are both super excited about growing pumpkins for Halloween, strawberries to munch on and corn to turn into popcorn!
- ‘Carpe diem’ – seize the moment when they have shown an interest even if it is not necessarily the most appropriate time for gardening
- Variety is key – while waiting for the seeds to grow the girls loved doing other plant-related activities such as flower pressing, egg-dyeing with plants/veggies, pretend play gardening indoors (even pretend teaching gardening!), observing our garden wildlife and making paper pots
- There is more to life than gardening – it is easy to become a little bit obsessed with making sure that they take their gardening responsibilities seriously (e.g. watering their plants regularly!) but there are often too many distractions and there is no harm in giving them a helping hand (e.g. watering their plants when they forget 😊)
- I’ll never be able to actually get on top of my garden chores but the girls are learning that growing plants can be fun and enjoyable (most of the time!)
What have you grown so far with your mini gardener?
What are your learnings from gardening with kids?