On the Allotment - The Children and I

It’s all go with planting out at the allotment this week (finally!). I haven’t felt safe planting until now, but the children and I had a great day there this week. We now have climbing French beans, dwarf French beans, broad beans, parsnip seeds and sweetcorn to add to the soft fruit and Jerusalem artichokes. I have run out of bamboo canes and haven’t been able to get any more so built the bean frame from some long branches and string which I’ve never done before, but I’m rather proud of the result (let hope the beans like it as much as I do!).

When I first took on the allotment, I told my children that they could have their very own section to play in. But as my plans have got bigger and the perceived space smaller(!) I’ve pulled back on this. It wasn’t just a case of me wanting the room but also of me deciding that they wouldn’t really use it, so would be better just helping me with mine. However, there is an old compost heap on the allotment which isn’t being used (too much bind weed) which I decided to use as a raised bed and my daughter (age 5) decided that it should be hers! I reluctantly agreed and I have to say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. She loves having the responsibility for doing her own section, really enjoys visiting with me and I’ve pretty much given her free reign of my seeds. So, she’s put in broad beans, lettuce, parsnip, spinach and radish and is enjoying her time down there and learning so much.

My son (age 3) really isn’t bothered and would rather be hunter, judge and jury for the naughty worms on the plot which get put into worm prison (his bucket) until home time. We’re also finally reaping the rewards of some of our hard work – this week we had our first salad of homegrown lettuce, rocket, beetroot leaves and pea shoots, it was delicious! The lettuce was started inside then kept in the temporary greenhouse. The beetroot leaves were from left-over plants from last year. The rocket was planted in a pot with some dahlias (I didn’t want an empty pot for a few months so decided to experiment with planting them together and it seems to be working brilliantly). And the pea shoots were grown on my windowsill- I’ve been doing this for a few months now and I’m going to try to keep it up all year. They are such a lovely addition to salads, stir-fry’s, risottos, in fact most things and are so easy to grow from cheap dried peas, I really recommend giving it a go.

More about Lucy...
Lucy is part of the fantastic Heritage Seed Library team, working hard to grow and preserve seed varieties that are no longer available so that our members can enjoy growing them at home. Raising two young children, Lucy is keen to grow an array of fruit and vegetables to become more sustainable and to encourage her children to get involved in growing.

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