How on earth have we got to the end of August? Since the girls have been on their school holidays I have completely lost track of time.
The summer so far has been fantastic, the weather here in Norfolk has been substantially better than most other summers and our garden has benefited from it immensely. We have so far had a good crop in our veggie patch and the girls have been very proud of their produce. My youngest in particular is obsessed with picking our veggies and she just can’t help herself when she is in the garden…she needs to pick a couple of beetroots (even if she doesn’t eat them) and some blueberries (now, she does eat those!!). Whenever someone is visiting us she insists on showing them our garden and growing patch. As soon as we get out in the garden she has to rush to check if any tomatoes have turned red and to my annoyance she will pick them as soon as they turn slightly darker than yellow 😊. Despite that I am really proud of the little gardener that she has become and completely taken by how excited she is about growing plants for food and fun!
Before the school holidays started I had grand plans to publish a list of the 10 best gardening things to do with your kids over the summer. However, whilst doing my research for the blog, I realised that there are countless numbers of such lists and they are all awesome. What would be the point of re-inventing the wheel? Yes, I could list lots of fun activities (trying to get those on the website as an additional resource) instead I have tried to do some of those activities with my girls and below are my favourite three. Please note that I have not chosen ‘one off’ activities but things the kids can do time and time again.
- Having put in a lot of effort earlier in the year it has been time to reap the rewards. A lot of gardening projects are school related (e.g. gardening clubs) and kids don’t get to actually see the fruit of their labour because they are away from school on holiday. It has been amazing to see my girls enjoy picking the fruits and vegetables as they have matured, try some that they would not normally eat and being generally really excited about the fact that they have been able to grow their own food. It was our first year growing potatoes and my youngest's jaw just dropped when she realised that there were lots of potatoes hidden in our big containers where once there were only a couple….as close to magic as one can get!!!
- The best things in life are free. Having seen many photos on social media of juicy and ripe blackberries we decided this weekend to go foraging for them. We have already been last year so it is not a totally new experience for the girls but they still loved it. It also gave me an excuse to show to my eldest what other plants might bear fruits or flowers that we could forage e.g. elder for flowers and berries, hop for flowers and hazel for nuts. I know that foraging is not strictly 'gardening' but it is still strongly related to it and it helps kids understand other sources of food.
- Saving for next year. Again, I love free things so the idea that I can pick seeds from my garden and grow plants from them next year sounds like a no-brainer. The girls have been amazed by how easily we have been able to find seeds to plant for next year and how fun it has been looking for them. One of the simplest seeds to find are poppies and given that we have a lovely large oriental poppy plant it made sense to start from there. The flowers have long gone but they have left behind the dried seed pods. Simply shaking the pods releases the seeds so even the younger children can get involved. One thing to keep in mind when picking seeds is that what will grow from that seed is not going to be exactly the same as the plant from which you have taken it.
What have been your favourite kids gardening activities this summer?
What are your plans going into the end of summer and the beginning of autumn?