Here at MGF-HQ, I’ve decided to embrace my inner Barbara Good and attempt to grow some fruit and vegetables with the children. Not being one to do things by halves, I had a huge, rotten tree cut down and the arborists, Busch Tree Care, very kindly used the branches to make me some amazing vegetable beds.
The Mini-Gins and I had a lovely (argumentative) afternoon building a brilliant plastic greenhouse and about a £million on seeds, compost, pots, gloves, watering cans and other such paraphernalia. The only thing left is to attempt to find out what on earth we’re supposed to do now! Luckily the internet is blooming (!) with articles to help.
As babble tells us, there are lots of benefits of gardening with children; apart from the health benefits of fresh air and exercise, children learn patience as they wait for their plants to grow as well as the importance of caring for something other than themselves. One thing I hadn’t really appreciated was how completely absorbing gardening can be; having to use two hands means that my phone stayed firmly in my pocket and the need to be gently with the plants meant I couldn’t be my normal, rushing, bullish self. My screen loving offspring didn’t mention the telly or tablet once for an entire afternoon. It’s not only children who benefit from tending the land, there are many mental and physical health benefits for us all. According to Psychology Today, there are many positive mental health benefits to gardening; apparently, I am supposed to feel relaxed and awash with ‘happy hormones’. However, I’m still working my way through ‘knackered’ and full of frustration. Growing vegetables can help me ‘vent anger’, ‘feel in control’ and reminds me to ‘live in the present moment.’
With this in mind, I buy a great book and get ready to feel stress-free and fabulous. The reality soon hits and I realise that I need a real idiot’s guide to growing veg, which is helpfully provided here by Graze.
The Telegraph tells me that gardening ‘is the key to children being more adventurous with food. If they grow it, they will eat it – and that’s exciting.’ They give a great list of vegetables to start with and, once they’re up and running, the BBC provides a lovely selection of child friendly vegetable based recipes to whet even the most discerning mini palates.
For those of us with small, London gardens, ‘How to Grow Vegetables in Containers’ by Greenside Up provides loads of insight into what to plant in small spaces. Apparently ‘almost all vegetables can be grown in containers’ which is great news for someone like me who owns exactly 3641 huge supermarket ‘bags for life’ (they even have a photo of a recycled baby bath filled with veg). If recycling is your bag (for life), this great image from The WHOot on provides a quick and easy guide to all the food you can grow from your food scraps.
Finally, if you’ve got your very own Margo Leadbetter peering over your garden fence, you might want to take Attainable Sustainable’s advice and consider wowing them with a range of ‘exotic’ heritage veg. Who could fail to be impressed by your “jaune dickfleischige”?
On that note, I’m off to tend to my runner beans.
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