Showing posts with label children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children. Show all posts

14 Apr 2011

Utter ...

... as in utter-ly entertaining and utter-ly enlightening;  I thoroughly enjoy the conversations that I have with the children here.  Gardening in a community space, with anyone and everyone free to join in, means that stepping out with my spade and fork under my arm is a flag for the kids in our community to approach.  They're getting quite animated about the prospect of growing more fruit and vegetables this summer.  Here's a recent exchange:

Carolyn d'ya know when you're next goin' gard'nin'?
Yes. Why?
Can I grow some stuff?
Yes. What would you like to grow?
Good choice.  What sort of lettuce: pointy, round, crispy, soft?
Y'know, the sort what we grew last year.
(Next child, joining in: We grew 5 types last year. Me: Well remembered, yes we did.)
Well what I'm talking about is the one what's green and got spiky bits.
Umm, leaves?
Yeah, I 'fink.
Hmmm.  Shall we look at some pictures, just to be sure?

Believe me, this is progress.  Last year the same child asked me to identify a round, brown vegetable:
Carolyn, what is this?
It's a potato. We'll cover it with soil, wait a couple of months and it will make lots more potatoes.
Oh. (pause) What's a potato make then?
Umm, it makes chips.
Ohhh, yeah! (Bing! lightbulb moment).

Ah, so endearing.  It's the little chats like this that make it all worthwhile.  I swear that kid will grow up to love vegetables! never mind the huge benefits of being outdoors, getting closer to nature and experiencing the seasons through sowing, growing, nurturing and eating.

Are there other gardening issues bothering City Kids?  Sure.  Will worms bite me? Are they poisonous?  Do ladybirds sting? Will they bite? What about wasps, do you have lots of those? Should we like wasps? Will there be bugs? Only I don't like bugs. (5 minutes later this 9 year old asked if she could hold a worm.)  I expect there'll be mosquitos, they bite. Me: No, our weather isn't hot enough. (thinks:  and not if you drink enough gin and tonic.)

I bet we've all got stories to tell of gardening conversations with children, especially if you start them off young. What have your children recently said in the garden that's made you smile?  I'd love to know!

Slightly warmer weather is promised for the weekend - hasn't it been chilly over the past few days? - so I wish you all good gardening at the weekend! Caro xx

Next post:  Keeping children amused while you garden, sun and general safety, and the benefits of being outdoors!

Plus!  I'm currently reviewing (and thoroughly enjoying) a soon-to-be-published book called 'Grow your Food for Free (well almost)'  by Dave Hamilton.  It's shaping up to be one for the bookshelf and particularly relevant if you're starting out as a food grower.  More news very soon...

30 Apr 2010

Carrot Stick

After the international excitement of the kids' drawings, thanks to Archie's mum,  (K- would you like  a job in PR for the blog?  Might help pay for your phone bill!)  I must at least show you the drawings in situ:

The purple stick was chosen (after a quick zoom round the gardens with a hair-raising display of light-sabre skills) (by Archie, not me) (although the idea is quite appealing) and knocked into place.  I held the hammer… you know, just in case.   And, lest you think that I've got my seed packets in a muddle, the carrot seeds were sprinkled in between the onions.  I'm testing to see if the smell will confuse the carrot fly.

So two celebrity tips there - stick idea a là Sarah Raven (as seen at Perch Hill); companion planting as mentioned by Alys Fowler in The Edible Garden (Wed, 8.00 p.m. BBC).

And for the blog's newest international fan, Archie digging holes with his mum's bulb planter (there's no curbing that boy's enthusiasm!):

23 Sept 2009

Make your own Seed Packets…

 This is a little overdue, but I hope you'll forgive me.  Two months ago I knew nothing about blogging and, since then, I've had huge fun learning how to tweak and fine tune this site.  There's a wealth of helpful advice from other bloggers about how to do this but this week I've had a problem finding a way of getting a pdf template to you all.  Hopefully I've now managed this.

So… following on from last week's promise of creating seed packets, I've made an A4 template (the size of a sheet of printer paper) which can be printed and cut out to make a blank seed packet for the kids to draw on.  (The template includes instructions.)

Because I wouldn't let this loose on my lovely readers without trying it myself, I've done some experimenting.  Most of you will have glue to hand for sticking the sides and be using that rather than tape, so I've made a few packets using different glues.  I found that PVA (white glue) left the paper a bit damp and 'blobby'.  Next I tried stick glue (such as Pritt Stick) but I think this will dry out over time, leaving you with a muddle of spilled seeds.  Finally, (my favourite) I used a gel all-purpose glue (UHU glue in UK) and this worked perfectly, although I had to rub the residue off my fingers.  Also, it's best to smooth the glue out to a thin layer and keep it towards the fold - it's best if the inside of the packet doesn't stick together!

Before filling the envelope with your seeds, your children (or you ~ I like to think there's something here for everyone!) should write down on the back all you know about the plant seeds that will go in the envelope.   Information such as when to sow, when they'll flower, how big the plant is, whether the plant prefers sunshine or shade, etc.  If you still have the kids attention,  the activity can be extended by taking a stroll down to your local library and check what else you can find out about your seeds.

The front of the packet has been left blank for a lovely drawing - or a photo, if you prefer.  Seal the packet when filled with a little bit of sellotape for easy opening in the springtime. 

My seed packet template can be downloaded by clicking here.  (I hope this works, please let me know if it doesn't!)

P.S. If I have any readers who would like this in a size other than 8 inches by 11 inches, I'll be happy to oblige.
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