6 June 2007

Toddler gardening explored and why I'm growing things

Small people and vegetables. I guess they don't always mix perfectly. Like today, Jenna and her friend from next door dug up both of my two little potato plants. They were so excited with the game of digging and so delighted by the results that they pulled the lot out. We have a bowl of really teeeny potatoes, and some very sad looking plants. I think a second crop might be the order of the day...



I can't find it in me to be cross about the digging incident because, well, it displays the second most important reason for me planting a garden at all (the first being trying to do my bit and be more self-sufficient)... I want my children to grow up with a knowledge of green growing things and a joy in being out of doors and being part of nature. And, I suppose, that is all they were doing. Maybe as time goes by she will know why it's better to leave them a little longer, but for now she is pleased enough (and has learnt something about root crops) just from her little experiment. Science, free range style.

I hope that as lazy as I'm inclined to be, and as desperately bad as I may be at gardening, my children can have something like what I had as a child. Our whole summers were out of doors, and most of our winters too. Dens, climbing, treehouses, sliding, water games, planting and harvesting, making strange concoctions with flower heads that we REALLY wanted to be perfume, running around, making mudpies. It sounds like some surreal and impossibly perfect paradise for small humans. It was.

It is all too unfashionable too, to create that kind of childhood in a world of alternatives that take much less time and energy. Oh I can SEE the temptation... But then I would lose something too. Don't we all go into motherhood thinking that we can get right what our parents got wrong without neglecting what they got right either? This was something that my mother gifted me - a love of green things.

I wish it was easier. I wish I had a natural talent for it, or a bit more knowledge at least. Maybe when I've satisfied my thirst for other knowledge I'll have time to read about gardens! Or maybe by the time I get round to it I'll already have learnt a lot more from my amature hit-and-miss approach. Between then and now at least I can console myself with this idea, it isn't just about the end result, it's about what you put into it in the here and now.

I'm growing too.

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