Ever since my oldest son was born, I’ve always tried to interest him in the outdoor world. We go for walks whatever the weather, we look at trees and plants and birds and investigate animal holes and tracks and calls. We also mess about in the garden, and he’s joined me in the garden since he was small enough to be sat in his bouncy chair next to me. As he got older he started playing with soil, digging with his own little tools and once he was big enough to understand, he helped me to plant seeds, water the garden and harvest our produce. One of my greatest pleasures in our London garden was watching him break off from a game to absent-mindedly pick a few cherry tomatoes to munch on from a nearby vine. This year he was actually involved enough to go through the seed catalogues with me and choose some of the things he’d like to plant. So we’ve got packets of bumblebee tomatoes, and purple haze carrots amongst others and this year he’s done a lot of the sowing himself.
Standing on his little stepladder at the kitchen sink he soaked the jiffy pellets, delighting in how they swelled at speed, and then he oh-so-carefully planted out the little seeds, comparing the different sizes and watered them every other day with his little watering can. We have been sowing less than we usually would because our newest little boy was born recently and I wanted to avoid having loads of seedlings keeling over because I didn’t have the time to pot them all on. But I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been to see my little boy scurry into the playroom (we don’t have a greenhouse or poly tunnel so there are seedling trays everywhere in the house!) every morning demanding that we check to see whether or not anything has sprouted! They’re starting to come up nicely now, and we’re going to plant them on soon, and then we’ll plant a few more trays. It’s impressive to see such a small child concentrating so hard and taking so much enjoyment in things sprouting. I have to admit I do tend to encourage him to plant things that I think he’ll really get a kick out of, so quick germination is ideal, as are plants that will grow relatively large and fruit well. This first tranche of seeds included goji berries, bumblebee tomatoes, black beauty aubergines and cucumbers. The next lot will include things like pumpkins and beans I think, things that he will recognise fast. I am so pleased that he’s growing up with an interest in the natural world, and I hope that his little brother will do the same. In the meantime, look at our seeds grow!