A few weeks ago I was looking after my 12 year old nephew for the afternoon whilst his siblings went to a birthday party. We spent a couple of hours in the veg patch together. Not being a parent myself, I was quite surprised that he was so eager to help out. We were clearing a raised bed of old sweetcorn plants, pulling them up at the roots, giving the bed a thorough weeding before finally digging in a bag of compost ready to plant some seed potatoes for Christmas. He seemed to be really engaged with each process but I had to ask him several times whether he really was enjoying it or whether he was being sarcastic. He assured me that he really did love growing food and said that he’d like to grow his own back at home but they didn’t have space.
I took the opportunity to earn a bit of good aunt status and suggested I could give him his own little veg patch as an early Christmas present, but that he’d have to either make a start on it now or wait until spring. He thought it was a fab idea and we chatted for a while about all the different veg you can grow and which ones he likes best.
After he left that afternoon I promptly put in an order for a wooden planter and some veg plants from the “Pick & Mix”. Knowing the sort of veg my nephew was interested in, and which could be planted fairly close together, I ordered him some spinach, two types of lettuce, spring onions and some wild rocket and then dropped him a message to say that he’d need to ask his mum to buy a 50l bag of multi purpose compost and to follow the instructions when the plants arrive.
A week later, I received some pics of his newly planted veg patch. At 50x80cm it’s small but perfectly formed. He’s very proud of it and had lots of fun planting it.
Meanwhile, my niece and nephew, aged 8 and 10, have recently moved house and they have two raised beds in their garden for growing veg. Their mother ordered a few plants from Rocket Gardens so that they could start growing this winter and I went over to help out. The two children had a great time unpacking the box, putting the plants into groups, guessing what they were, and finally planting them in (higgledy-piggledy) rows before watering them.
It’s been so nice to see them all getting stuck in and enjoying a bit of the good life, and it’s really great to know that they have an interest in where there food comes from and how it’s grown. I’m a convert. I thought my niece and nephews would get bored doing the gardening, but now I totally think that growing your own is a really great thing to do with children. They might all be getting trowels from me for Christmas this year!!