A few years ago, ok more than that, more like about five years ago I had an allotment plot and Jude, Elsa and I used to go there for some fun, family time together. We’d choose seeds to plant, explore all the other amazing and somewhat intimidatingly well organised plots around us and just generally have a great few hours indulging in messy, primitive entertainment. Then we’d slowly meander home together and reflect on our fabulous and rewarding afternoon…
Well, that was what was meant to happen but in reality, Jude, Elsa and I would go to our allotment plot and I’d spend the whole time trying to stop them picking everyone elses’ fruit or trample across land that wasn’t ours. Elsa was only about 2 years old and Jude, a very Jude-like 5 so you can just imagine what the scenario looked like. Anyway, I forfeited our allotment when reality kicked in that they were just too young and I was already too stressed out.
Fast forward to today and we have just this morning collected the keys to the allotment site again as we have taken on a half a plot to grow lots of wonderful vegetables, create a bee and butterfly corner and to spend some time together in the fresh air. This is all Elsa inspired as she adores gardening and especially growing vegetables.
This is what it looks like…as you can see, it needs a liiiitle bit of work.
But it isn’t as bad as it looks and the majority of this mess is just surface dried grass.
I took on the plot originally because I thought it would be a great thing to do with Jude and an ideal way for him to understand where food comes from and to see first hand something growing from nothing. He is quite interested but needs a bit of convincing to get involved. I don’t think he understands what we are doing today but hopefully once things start to progress he will comprehend more clearly. We spent a bit of time there today but as it was so hot and we hadn’t brought everything we needed with us, it was a short visit of just about an hour or so. Thankfully, there is a tap point right next to our plot and Jude kept himself amused filling a huge container of water and playing with that. Whilst I want him to learn about gardening, I don’t want him to fall about with boredom and I’m sure he was watching us from his sheltered spot. Jude learns so much from watching and as I mentioned yesterday, his confidence is pretty low so he loves to watch and watch until he’s certain he can do something successfully.
Jude playing with the water tub.
I never feel I do enough with the children so being here gives us the excuse to work exclusively together, to give time to one another and not be distracted by work, the tv, housework or sorting washing (a permanent full time job in our house!) and I felt a great deal clearer and calmer than when we arrived and as if we had achieved something.
In reality, we got very little done but it was a start and I now have a very excited daughter who wants to plan on paper what we are going to grow and hopefully a son who can learn something important in his life. I have said it many times before but for Jude it isn’t useful to study topics such as Florence Nightingale, World War 1 or anything with conceptual ideas too abstract for his brain. He needs to learn the basics…how to grow food, how to pay for shopping at the supermarket, how to tidy up after himself. So we’ll start with the simplest notion, growing vegetables, which will give him a skill as well as exercise for his mind and body holistically.
Here are a few of the other plots that we thought were the most fantastic…
Will keep progress documented for your amusement…