Posts filed under ‘gardening with kids’

gardening with kids (during a heatwave)

It’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 […]

Advertisements

Continue Reading July 23, 2018 at 6:32 am 14 comments

gardening with kids – new friends and allotment grown elevenses

toddler and dog playing ball at the allotment - nipitinthebud.co.ukLast week I visited the allotment for the first time with just Luca as Euan was at school and we’d not managed a weekend visit.  It was a beautiful sunny day and while we waited for Dave to arrive Luca made a new friend, a spaniel called Zac.  Zac kept picking up stones and dropping them at our feet as we talked to his owner Lesley.  She said he likes to play catch with stones but soon went off to find him a ball when we realised how good he was at intercepting every single throw and wincing at the clunking sound of stone on teeth.  Luca was in his element combining his love of balls and dogs and Mummy time.

Luca playing ball with Zac at the allotment - nipitinthebud.co.uk-1-3.jpg

boy and dog at the allotment - nipitinthebud.co.uk

toddler and dog at the allotment - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Allotment - toddler and dog playing ball

excited dog at the allotment - nipitinthebud.co.uk-1

Zac was getting so exhausted by the sun and ball play and we could see he would never voluntarily stop bringing the ball back to us.  So Luca and I said our farewell’s and headed down to Dave’s plot, not before stopping to say hello to some other allotment animals.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a little explore while we waited for Dave to arrive.  I’ve always loved the ramshackled sheds at the allotment but over the years, as new plot holders have arrived, there have been more new ones cropping up.  I’ve always loved this shed which has gradually been grown over Virginia Creeper and turns an amazing red colour in the Autumn.  I encouraged L to go and knock at the door but he wasn’t at all keen!

allotment shed covered in Virginia Creeper  - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Our patch is coming along well and we picked some lettuce to take home.  We only have 2 carrots growing after our long weeks of waiting but it’s 2 more than last year!  Still no sign of our kohl rabi but I’m happy to see that the tomato plants we put in a few weeks ago are looking fab.   It’s thirsty work gardening so we always take our Oxo Tot twist top water bottle and on this occasion snacked on broad beans.

allotment thirsty toddler_oxotot twist top bottle - nipitinthebud.co.uk

thirsty toddler_oxotot twist top bottle - nipitinthebud.co.uk

It was the perfect time to pick the broad beans as there were very few black fly on them.  Dave plants his broad beans in November and I used to do this as well when I learnt that they escape the black fly by being ready to pick just that bit earlier than beans planted in February.allotment toddler in the broad beans - nipitinthebud.co.ukallotment toddler broad beans - nipitinthebud.co.ukallotment toddler eating broad beans - nipitinthebud.co.uk

We weren’t able to visit the plot at the weekend but hope to on Saturday.  So much changes when you can only visit every other Saturday.  Thank goodness we have Dave to keep an eye on things for us, especially with the upcoming heatwave next week.  If you’ve you’ve missed any of our other gardening with kids posts you can catch up with them by clicking the link.  Cheerio for now and happy gardening.
Keeping it real logo - debsrandomwritings.com copy

Photalife

June 21, 2018 at 1:32 pm 14 comments

gardening with kids – foxgloves, fizzy pop and photos

cherryade treat after allotment work - nipitinthebud.co.uk
We’ve only been getting to the allotment every other weekend but with the warmer weather we’re beginning to see more rapid change from visit to visit. Since sowing our first seeds towards the end of April we now have carrots, beetroot, runner beans, shallots, tomatoes and lettuce coming up. Kohl Rabi and watercress are still keeping us guessing and we’ve got some plan B plants we can allocate to their seed beds if they don’t ever appear. There’s not much space for anything else but I just couldn’t say no when Dave offered some sweetcorn and potatoes so we planted one of each anyway!
6 year old weeding - nipitinthebud.co.uk

We had lots to do in a short space of time on Saturday but both boys were keen to help out. Euan was pleased that Dave had left out some rubber gloves for us – he’s not yet got used to the idea of mud under his nails! He was pleased to see how easily the weeds came out when pulled up from the roots. Luca was a bit too enthusiastic and I hadn’t thought to point out the fact that we’d finished when I turned to see him pulling up some of our precious few carrot seedlings. He’s still trying to master walking along the wooden plank that separates our growing area from Dave’s blackberry bush so a few things were trampled in his eagerness to help.toddler weeding - nipitinthebud.co.uk
Euan was concerned that a fox glove plant was growing on the edge of our plot and that Luca’s leg had brushed up against it. We had spoken to him last summer when Luca was less mobile about the risks for children and animals if they ingest any part of the foxglove plant. Euan is extremely conscientious with any information like that but I could see he was becoming agitated by the thought of Luca touching it. He was finding it harder and harder to be rational about the risk being in eating them (which Euan knew he would never do but wasn’t so sure about a curious toddler). I asked Dave if he minded us removing it for Euan’s peace of mind and he didn’t and as I managed to dig it out with it’s roots intact he re-homed it down on his plot in the area where he likes to sit on his bench and take a break. They are beautiful plants after all and the bees especially love them.

re-homing foxgloves - nipitinthebud.co.uk

We took a break after all that work and the boys were excited about having Dave’s special drink, watered down Cherryade. In all honesty I think it’s E’s favourite part of allotment visits because we don’t have fizzy drinks at home and he’s always keen to know if Dave will be there at the same time as us! I took some pictures of the boys having their drinks and invited Dave into the frame too. It was nice to also have proof that I’m at the allotment with them when Dave offered to take one of me with the boys.allotment growers - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Mum and boys on the plot - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Euan excitedly asked if he could take a picture too and as he’d had some practice using my camera while we were on holiday I was happy to let him. I think he did a really good job considering he’s much smaller than we are.6 year old photographer's photo - nipitinthebud.co.uk

”Can I take some more pictures of the allotment” he asked shyly and when I said yes he took himself off photographing flowers, plants and other interesting things. He has a lovely eye for spotting things and is really responsible about putting the strap around his neck and holding the camera carefully.
I may have to dedicate an entire post to his photo gallery if he keeps this up!As always we came away from the plot with some fresh produce from Dave. Euan thought the cabbage made a rather good hat!cabbage hat at the allotment - nipitinthebud.co.uk
We’ve also been taking part in two nature challenges this month – #30dayswild with The Wildlife Trust and the #GreatBritishBeeCount with Friends of the Earth, photographing and logging sightings of bees. They certainly love purple and pink flowers especially the foxgloves (although they were too fast to snap them as they zipped in and out of the lovely bells).

June 8, 2018 at 11:00 am 6 comments

gardening with kids – sunny Saturday mornings on the plot

We made our Saturday morning visit to the allotment yesterday. The day before I’d received a text from Dave to say our runner beans were coming up so we were excited to go and check their progress and see how the rest of our seeds were doing.

brothers at the allotment
I love how random and unexpected nature is. Out of 15 runner beans planted 2 weeks ago a handful have surfaced but most are still hibernating. Our first sowings 4 weeks ago are showing varying signs of progress – the lettuces are coming along beautifully but there’s no sign of watercress, carrots or kohl rabi yet. I had it in mind that carrots took 3-4 weeks to germinate but when I checked the archives for the first carrots I ever grew it was more like 5 weeks before they appeared.  It’s always a bit of a guessing game as to whether they’re just slower growing from year to year or whether it’s a failed sowing. We’re at a wedding next weekend so if there’s no carrot life signs in 2 weeks time we’ll either sow another row or switch to dwarf beans which always germinate pleasingly quickly.
brothers working at the allotment
This week we arrived mid morning and Luca was awake and was actually quite helpful.  He still can’t grasp not walking across little plants but it was a chance we had to take.  Last week arriving at the plot with a sleeping toddler was useful but it was so much hotter arriving at lunchtime. George was working away and not available for a lift home so we knew we’d need to have enough power for the walk home. Luca spent a happy 10 minutes poking soil around with his trowel while E and I watered and planted shallots.
toddler weeding at the allotment
toddler running at the allotment
Dave gave us some Roma tomato plants the sweet scent of which fills me with such joy (it’s all down to my love of green tomato chutney and needing to grow my own for that).  Dave finds it amusing I think that I love growing tomatoes over and above all else!  As we’re not around next weekend I took a chance on bedding in the tomato plants rather than waiting for them to get bigger in their pots.  We’re so lucky that Dave takes care of our plot when we’re not there otherwise I doubt I’d take such a chance.

One of the most wonderful things about being part of an allotment community is leaving the plot with freshly picked produce even though your garden isn’t producing anything edible yet.  Dave gifted us asparagus, cabbage and lettuce and you probably don’t need me to tell you that it tasted better than any you’d buy in the shop.
freshly picked allotment grown asparagus
allotment grown lettuce

My favourite photo from our visit yesterday is this last one.  There’s something so wonderful about fresh, vibrant green vegetables – as beautiful as any flower to an allotment grower (if you’re thinking ”that’s a bit weird” don’t worry, my husband thinks so too!) 

I’m going to share our muddy rooted lettuce with Darren at Photalife as part of his #mysundayphoto link up.  It’s our first time joining in and there are some terrific pictures from other families if you find yourself with some browsing time on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Photalife

May 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm 18 comments

gardening with kids – watering, wigwam making and wise words from an old friend

On Saturday morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there were whisperings of ”allotment, allotment” in the air. It was already 2 weeks since our last visit to sow our first seeds of 2018. I knew there wouldn’t be many signs of life in our seed beds but I wanted Euan to understand the importance of being habitual with our visits, especially to water on sunny days. It’s a about a 25 minute walk for little legs to the plot and I’ve accepted Euan can only really do it one way on a hot day to remain moan free. Last time we got a lift down with George on his way to work but that meant we were there an hour before our allotment guardian Dave arrived and toddler Luca was full of energy, excitement and mischief. On Saturday I decided it would work better to play at home for a bit and walk to the plot when Luca was ready for his nap. It wouldn’t give us much time to work but on a hot day our visit would be cut short anyway as there’s little shade on the plot. I set my sights on achieving one task of sowing some new seeds and anything else would be a bonus.

6 year old watering at the allotment

Sometimes knowing you are short of time is good for concentrating the mind and in the 30 minutes that Luca napped we managed to water our seed beds, sow a row of beetroot and make a wigwam for our runner beans. As expected there was no sign of our carrots (they usually take about 3 weeks to germinate) but the lettuce was peaking out of the ground and the water cress was showing some signs of surfacing.

handful of runner beans for planting

Euan was excited about making a runner bean wigwam and surprised by how quick and easy it was. We borrowed 6 bean poles from Dave and pushed them into the ground in the shape of a hexagon. We used 2 cable ties to fasten the poles together at the top and then planted a bean either side of each bean pole and a few spares in the centre. Euan was intrigued to see the different varieties of beans Dave had saved from last year and said he felt like Jack in the story of the magic beanstalk as he popped them in his pocket to walk back to our patch to plant them. I’m not quite sure how the 3 varieties of beans we planted (white, purple and black and brown) will differ in appearance and taste but that’s half the fun of gardening using saved seeds isn’t it!

6 year old making a runner bean wigwam

Dave offered us some greens to plant as he always sows more than he needs so he can share plants with other allotment holders. We declined the offer as we only have a small amount of space and I wanted Euan to grow things he enjoys eating. He was quite keen to grow a cabbage, inspired by a photo in Dave’s shed of him holding a giant 36lb cabbage, but he was easily persuaded not to when I pointed out it wouldn’t be ready until summer was long gone. Each year Dave tries to beat his 36lb record and there’s a friendlyand informal giant cabbage growing competition that goes on among other growers on the plot that starts with donations of Dave’s seedling cabbages.


Dave's giant 36lb cabbage - nipitinthebud.co.uk

We’re saving the last bit of space on our patch for some tomato plants Dave is currently bringing along in his shed. Tomatoes are my favourite produce to grow and the reason I took on an allotment in the first place (thanks to my love of green tomato chutney and not being able to source green tomatoes anywhere). I’m really hoping our tomatoes don’t suffer blight again like they did last summer. At least when you only have a small patch the loss of 4 plants doesn’t feel as great as the year blight destroyed over 20 previously strong, healthy, fruit giving tomato plants.

We were delighted to see our friend Henri at the plot on Saturday. He’s a familiar figure during harvest time when he leaves the plot pushing his bike laden with his allotment grown produce. Henri will celebrate his 94th birthday this year which is amazing having undergone a triple heart bypass operation 7 years ago. He’s in pain every day and beginning to struggle with some of the heavier allotment tasks but his plot is still immaculate and abundant. Henri is Italian and grows grapes on his allotment that he nurtured from seeds smuggled insidea hanky in his pocket when he arrived in Gloucester soon after the second world war had ended. His brother had been a prisoner of war in the Forest of Dean and stayed here when he was freed having fallen in love with a local girl. Henri decided to join his brother in Gloucester and he took on his allotment not long after. It’s amazing to think his grape vine is truly one of a kind in England and he makes about 14 litres of wine each year from the grapes he picks.

6 year old and 93 year old allotment buddies

Henri is so knowledgable and we all love to hear his gardening wisdom. When I asked if I could take a picture of him with Euan he said ”Of course” and reached his arm out for a hug. I loved the picture I snapped but there was something missing. I took a second picture and this time got Henri’s bike in the frame. If you know Henri you just can’t picture him down at the allotment without his bike!

6 year old and 93 year old allotment buddies

I think this second picture could be one of my all time favourite allotment photos now. I love what it says about Euan’s delight at simply being on the allotment. I love the ease of these two allotment buddies, born 87 years apart, in front of the camera and with one another. And it reminds me of a picture I shared in another post featuring Henri called ”I is for … inspired by older people”.

Talk to old people, they know cool stuff

Conversation connects and encourages people. We all have cool stuff to share and we need more ways to bring people of different generations and cultures together. All over the country this is happening on allotments and I feel so lucky to have been welcomed back into this beautiful allotment community with my boys.

© ‘‘Talk to old people, they know cool stuff you don’t. Talk to young people, they know cool stuff you don’t” image was from a website called ‘We are what we do’ which is sadly no longer on-line. The brilliant book created by them called Change the world for a fiver’ can still be found pre-loved though.

Keeping it real logo - debsrandomwritings.com copy
design3

May 11, 2018 at 8:28 am 15 comments

gardening with kids – our first allotment sowings of 2018

21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-12.jpgI’m so happy to be returning to the allotment this year thanks to our friend Dave giving us a small patch of ground on his plot, just like he did last year when 5 year old Euan tried allotment growing for the first time.  I was a bit dubious about how productive it would today with a wandering toddler in tow so set my expectations low to avoid any sense of frustration.  If nothing else we’d enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and chats with lovely allotment holders.  We did just that having arrived an hour before Dave with no tools or seeds (our amazing plot guardian Dave he even shares his shed palace with us so we can just rock up without having to bring things with us!).  It was so lovely to chat to our old plot neighbours Pat and Robin.  I had feared I might feel wistful for the days when I was able to spend all day at the plot but I obviously love my kids more than gardening which is good to know! I love being at the allotment but enjoy it in a different way now.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-4

It’s beautiful to see how much Euan loves being there too. Admittedly he loves exploring more than the actual gardening at the moment but he shows interest and diligence with the latter when he does help because he gets to have some free time to play first. Pat and Robin are very gracious about him doing laps of their plot via the secret path behind the shed and zig zagging along the pathways between their vegetable beds. On this occasion, between playing hide and seek and pointing out plants he recognised, Euan assisted Pat with planting her seed potatoes (she didn’t need the help of course, but E was thrilled to be given the responsibility of tucking the potatoes into their trench).  This is what I always loved about the allotment – the sharing of knowledge between generations and the relaxed and easy sharing of time.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-11

Euan correctly guessed the name of the rhubarb plant and happily helped to tug some stalks from it when Pat offered us some.  We also received some forced rhubarb from Dave so we shall have to decide how to use our two kinds of rhubarb.  The beauty of blogging is that there is never a shortage of ideas so a quick look at my post 5 ways with… a ton of rhubarb will be a good place to start!
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-721-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-821-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-9

We wandered over to Dave’s plot to await his arrival and saw that he had prepared the ground for us so we could get straight on to the business of sowing our first seeds (I know!  how lucky are we?)   We rummaged through Dave’s seed tin and Euan chose kohl rabi after his success with growing it last year, Autumn King carrots, watercress and lettuce.
21-4-18- allotment-seeds sown

Luca was actually quite interested in what we were doing but had to be distracted with invitations to dig holes away from where we were working.   He just couldn’t grasp the concept of walking around the seed beds every time he decided to make a beeline for me.  He loved the watering can but found it a bit ‘‘big, big” .  I admired his determination to keep returning to the watering can and check whether it was still to heavy.  A couple of lines of seeds later and it was just the right.  He looked so pleased with himself as he dragged it over to me.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-13

Luca definitely worked up an appetite for his snacks after all that effort.  He’s not a big eater but loves nibble sized fruit and veg and chomping his way through apple slices occupied him for a little while at least.  I can’t wait until our allotment growing starts bearing fruit as I always loved snacking on green beans, peas and berries freshly picked.  I think Luca will too so it was very thoughtful of Dave to give us some space right by the blackberries.
21-4-18- allotment-first sowings 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk-14

The allotment provides a sense of community for us that is lacking in the street in which we live (as home owners in a street of tenants and students who come and go). We have history at the allotment and there’s an ease in conversations as we stop to chat with people tending their plot. Although we had a 5 year gap after letting go of the plot when Euan was a year old it feels like we never left. Only now we have the privilege of enjoying the space and growing again with 1/10th of the effort it would normally take.  It makes it a joy to be there with the boys and we are ever grateful to our wonderful allotment friend Dave. Gardening with kids is fab!
allotment gardening with kids_toddler wandering
design3

April 23, 2018 at 10:02 am 12 comments

gardening with kids – back on the plot with a little helper

With a heavy heart we made the decision to let our allotment plot go when E was two years old.  As we packed up the last few bits from our shed our allotment neighbour Dave kindly said ”don’t feel bad about it, when Euan is older and the time is right you can return to it”.   He added that if we ever wanted to do some growing with E we could always have a little patch on his plot if we weren’t ready to tackle a full plot again.  This summer we took him up on his offer and it’s been fabulous returning to the plot.

Dave has been amazing.  He cleared a patch of ground and marked it ”Euan’s garden”.  He let us rummage through his seed packets and he keeps an eye on it when we’re not able to get down (which has only been once a week while E was at school and even less often than that in the holidays).  We’ve found allotment time and baby L are not really compatible unless there’s another adult on hand to hold back our little plant grabber but we’ve had some lucky nap time walks on the weekends Gs been working.

It’s been lovely to have one to one time with E sharing my awe of how nature turns a tiny seed into a giant plant that provides us with food (think runner bean to a child and you have something of the concept of what it means to create a giant).

It’s amazing how kids are suddenly more open to trying vegetables they’ve previously refused if they’ve had a hand in growing them.  I love eating beans fresh from the plant and although E declared “I am not keen on those” to both our runner beans and Henri’s broad beans I loved his willingness and “errrr, no” face.

If you asked E what his favourite part of going to the allotment is, without hesitation he’d say “seeing Dave and going in his shed”.  Such a beautiful friendship forming.

I’m looking forward to next summer already when I shall have two little helpers.

 

 

 

August 13, 2017 at 6:43 am 6 comments


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.

If you like what you found why not receive stories straight into your inbox

Follow Nip it in the bud on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 469,235 hits

Archives

Follow me on Instagram

When your hungry toddlers go too food request is "me want cake Mum" it's good to have a savoury muffin recipe to hand. 2 minutes to whip up and 15 mins to bake. Remains to be seen whether he'll be fooled! Recipe on the blog by searching feta muffin #nipitinthebudblog #sugarfreemuffins #babyfriendly
Grief is rough at the best of times but seeing your child struggle through the pain of loss is a real knife to the heart. A friend has lent us some books to read with E and "The Sad Book" by @michaelrosenyes is going to be the key to papering over some of the cracks in our hearts I think and easing his anxiety about dying.
Beautiful wood block print from our dear friend @elluminations of our boys on a beach in the Isle of Wight at the start of the school holidays. We returned to find my Mum's health deteriorating and she died 3 weeks later. Our world has been turned upside down but when I look at this picture I can feel the peace, hear the lap of the waves and smile at the tenderness of the moment - two #bestfriendbrothers absorbed in their own present moment. Thank you El, this means so much to me (for commission's of your own photos or El's artwork as wood blocks visit her Etsy shop)
E's had a hard time the last few weeks following an incident that triggered a really big stress response for his 6 year old bereaved mind. Today we've made a worry box to help him with his anxiety symptoms and have found the advice on the @youngmindsuk website invaluable. We all need to talk about mental health more especially as it's too easy for grown ups to dismiss a child's misbehaviour without looking for the feelings underlying it. #breakingthestigma #worldmentalhealthday2018
We've had a hard few weeks and this really sums up how asking for help is the light in the dark but not always easy to do. It's #worldmentalhealthday2018 and never has it been more important to make sure our kids know asking for help is a sign of strength and courage not weakness or failure
How to get your kids to eat your home made casserole? Cover it with their favourite #cullyandsullyuk chicken soup. Winner!
I learnt a new word today and if there was an emoji for it then it would be this! PIZZLED, when your pissed off and puzzled all at the same time. Thank you #rubywaxfrazzled for the language education and Euan for the always hilarious faces (he was 4 years old and eating lunch out with his new 2 month old baby brother so his face could be saying all sorts of things!) #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog
I don't suppose many people recall the exact date they found out they were pregnant or have a photo to mark their total delight. 15/8/15 we found out our second miracle Luca was on his way. We'd become second time parents in our 40s and 22 years after we started dating. Our boys were so worth the painful years of waiting. (And our picture to mark the occasion is thanks to Mum and Dad babysitting Euan so we could go to a friend's wedding evening do.)
After school chills @gloucestercathedral @gloscathedral
Best friend brothers. Our #siblingsproject post for this month (link in bio) #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife
It's so hard to grieve the loss of your Mum when just looking in the mirror each morning reminds you of what you're missing. Dad always said "thankfully you get your looks from your Mum" with a cheeky twinkle in his eye.

Follow me on Twitter

Featured posts elsewhere

A Gardeners Voice Featured Blog!
TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs