gardening with kids (during a heatwave)

July 23, 2018 at 6:32 am 14 comments

Allotment visit 23-6-18 - fillingIt’s over 3 weeks since our last Saturday morning allotment visit and we didn’t make it yesterday either. It’s been unseasonably hot in the UK for weeks now and our weekends are such a precious balance of down time versus adventure.  Yesterday was the first day of the school holidays and we relished sitting around in the clothes we’d woken up in and having no timescale for eating, dressing or leaving the house.

I was keen to get to the allotment as we’re having a break away this week.  I’d also received an exciting text from Dave to tell us our runner beans were ready to pick (they’d just begun flowering when we last visited at the end of June).  I read Dave’s text out to Euan and awaited his ”great, let’s go Mummy’‘ response.  Alas, he was enjoying sitting in his pants making Lego too much to consider all the things he’d have to do to get ready for plot time.  Euan loves being at the allotment, especially if our visits coincide with Dave being there, but he tolerates the 25 minute walk there and thoroughly dislikes the walk back.  I’ve been quite realistic about my own energy and patience levels and managing the needs of two hot, tired boys so in the current climate we’ve not been able to go if G is at work with the car.  I explained to Euan we would need to go to the allotment on Sunday and he replied
”Can we go in the car?  I do love gardening but it’s so exhausting to walk home after.  I wish the allotment was in our back yard”.
Me too, I thought!

Allotment visit 23-6-18 -

Allotment visit 23-6-18 - weeding

We watered our plot as soon as we arrived and could immediately see that Dave had been keeping a careful eye on it – the soil had been hoed and our plants were thriving despite the heatwave.  I’d expected our lettuce to be completely frazzled but it was vibrant and tasty.  Our plot benefits from the morning shade provided by Dave’s blackberry brambles which is another reason why I prefer heading out in the morning.

My little Noticer Euan was delighted to find a broken birds egg as we watered the plot.  I wasn’t sure what it was but suggested a pigeon egg as we’d found a similar one years ago and that had been Dave’s guess!  Euan has been really curious about creepy crawlies since taking part in the #GreatBritishBeeCount – on our last visit he befriended a woodlouse and found it amusing that he could feel his legs tickling his hand as he tried to escape.  We picked some of Dave’s gooseberries when we started to feel peckish having sampled Dave’s red gooseberries on previous visits.  Freshly grown, sun ripened gooseberries are extraordinary – tangy but sweet and no hint of sugar needed to sweeten them.  I was reminded of the gooseberry bush I inherited from Dave’s allotment neighbour when failing eyesight meant he was no longer able to manage his plot.

Allotment visit 23-6-18 - breakAfter a brief pitstop Luca wanted to help with the watering again and I remembered we hadn’t fed our tomato plants.  They definitely benefit from a liquid feed to ensure they get the right balance of nutrients (potassium and nitrogen thirsty). Dave’s tomatoes are beautifully trimmed and trained up tall sticks. We’ve always gone for a more bushy effect as I never get round to nipping the tops out!

Allotment visit 23-6-18 - watering can spillingYou see that watering can, you’ve guessed right, it was pretty much empty by the time Luca had dragged it back to the plot all by himself.  You’ve got to admire toddler determination but it can be maddening to be on the receiving end of a ‘‘No Mummy help” when you can see how it’s going to end up!
Allotment visit 23-6-18 -

We left the plot with a week’s worth of lettuce and it kept beautifully in the fridge after being rinsed and shaken.  I always presumed washing lettuce as soon as you got it home, and well in advance of when you’d use it, would make it deteriorate quicker but Henri’s advice to run it under the tap and store it upside down (if whole) in a plastic bag has served me well.

design3I’m also sharing this post with Sophie at Oldhouse in the Shires and Ann from Gardening Limited who co-host the fab monthly gardening linky #MyGloriousGardens.  If you write a gardening blog we’d love you to come and share your stories with us.

If you liked reading about our allotment adventure our other gardening with kids posts are here

Feel free to pin or share if you enjoy them.  You can find me on Pinterest here.


Entry filed under: allotment tales, gardening with kids, great people.

Best friend brothers |July 2018 siblings project Me and Mine [July 2018]

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thelittlebigc  |  July 23, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    It must be so rewarding to watch something grow & then be able to take it home & eat it. Lovely to see the boys enjoying nature x

  • 2. Tina @  |  July 28, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    It’s been far too hot to take the kids to our allotment – there’s zero shade there. Hubby has been going down to water everything early in the morning for about 5 weeks now. He almost cried with excitement when we woke up to rain this morning haha #keepingitreal

    • 3. Nip it in the bud  |  August 4, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      It’s been a summer like no other I’ve known. I can’t remember the last time I saw green grass. My old allotment neighbour shared a story from the start of the heatwave about heading to the allotment at 4.30am to use the house and someone had already beaten him to it! Thanks for taking the time to share x

  • 4. Lee  |  July 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    My daughter likes to ‘help’ with the watering too – I always sneakily water whatever it is she’s been tasked with and treat whatever she manages to give it as a bonus!

    • 5. Nip it in the bud  |  August 4, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Gosh yes that’s absolutely the tactic. Big enthusiastic ”oh you watered the shoe, use that last bit on the plant there then!” Thank you for commenting, it’s always lovely to hear from other growers striking the balance between sharing the joy of gardening with kids and pulling your hair out!

  • 6. debsrandomwritings  |  July 30, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Nic, I can imagine the trek to the allotment in the recent heat isn’t pleasant, but those veggies are payback x 2. It is lovely that your boys have an interest in your allotment. I love that photo of Luca dragging the watering can, it’s a classic and I am surprised you managed to water any of them… My Dad used to have lovely gooseberry bushes when we were growing up and pinching them and eating them straight from the bush was something we loved doing. Something we sometimes paid for with dicky tums.

    Thank you for popping by and linking up with #keepingitreal.


    • 7. Nip it in the bud  |  August 4, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks Debbie for your lovely comments, I always appreciate them alongside your own stories of gardening with family and in your current garden in Greece x

  • 8. Darren Coleshill (@darrencoleshill)  |  July 30, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    They look like experts, we’ve been trying to keep everything well watered

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    • 9. Nip it in the bud  |  August 4, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      Keep up that watering, no sign of rain any time soon!

  • 10. JallieDaddy  |  August 2, 2018 at 11:59 am

    It’s great getting the kids involved with something creative, physical, rewarding and plain dirty as gardening isn’t it? Also: I have the same watering can 🙂

    • 11. Nip it in the bud  |  August 4, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      It’s wonderful getting them involved although now it’s the summer holidays I’m learning what reluctance feels like in the face of other options! We borrow the watering cans from another neighbour but they are the same as the ones we used to have too :o) Thank you for taking the time to share x

  • 12. Rachel ~ Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles  |  August 2, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    What handsome little helpers you have there! Looks like a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun! Must be very rewarding. #MySundayPhoto

  • 13. oldhouseintheshires  |  August 14, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    You reminded me of when my daughter used to help me with the watering! Aged 18 months, she thought it was hilarious to accidentiy hose me too!
    Such a cute post! Love the pictures and gooseberries! Yum. I haven’t planted any yet but plan to make a new soft fruit area at some point. I do have red currants but the birds got to them before I could bet them!
    Thanks again for joining the August #MyGloriousGardens linky. We hope to see you next month. X

  • 14. Ann  |  August 18, 2018 at 6:44 am

    It looks like you and your children have a lot of fun in your garden. You must be very dedicated to it if you spend 25 minutes walking to it! I heard about your heatwave and hope it starts to cool down soon! Thank you for sharing on the August #MyGloriousGardens link party!


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About Nip it in the bud

Welcome to my blog about growing and cooking allotment veg since 2009 and growing sweet boys since 2012. Take a walk with us through our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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