Potager Garden: Seedlings, hidden veggies and finding a calm, centred place

I found an old camping table in the garage that looked like the perfect size for our youngest gardener. She was delighted and immediately set up a shop and started attempting to sell my pots onto her older siblings.

Our second son has been watching his seedlings grow on the windowsill. Every morning he eagerly opens the kitchen blinds up so that they get plenty of light. The micro greens are not too far away from being ready now.

The potatoes are chitting happily in the early spring sunshine. From far away tiny bumps are becoming visible, but close-up there are leaves and nodules to marvel at. We are learning about botanical drawings as one of our homeschool projects, and next week I plan to give the children magnifying glasses and watercolour paints so that they can draw them.

Our children have very different approaches to gardening. Our fourth son has sensory autism and does not like to get compost on his hands. He is cautious with the tools and uses two together, to carefully lift the soil into the pot.

It is brilliant when I can give him a practical task that takes all of his attention because he can then hear me talking to him, without all of the thousands of thoughts that rush through his mind getting in the way. He is able to fetch me the red pot when I ask, and then, when I make another request of him, he takes it over to the table. Perfect. It shows me that he does understand the words I say, and it is about patience and helping him to find a calm centred place.

Our daughter has long given up on using my improvised potting table. The compost is far too inviting and the tiny indoor gardening trowel I have given her does take an awful lot of time. She simply climbs in and uses her hands.

I have lately been working on improving the palette of our two youngest sons, who, if given the choice, would eat a very limited selection of foods and both instinctively shun the taste of vegetables. After many years of negotiation I have convinced them that cheese on toast is “pizza” … and I have since managed to sneak chopped onions and pureed veg into my homemade tomato sauce. Today I added butter-sauteed leeks into the cheese mix and was delighted when they cleaned their plates. Another vegetable conquered!

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. TanGental says:

    Enjoy each victory! Parenting allows for no armistice or tactical withdrawal but the spoils of war are worth it aren’t they?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are πŸ™‚ Those are pretty good terms actually, for with this many children any occasion is a military operation πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TanGental says:

        I’d love to see the morning inspection… must be something to get their attention let alone stand to it!


  2. nanacathy2 says:

    Your little boy does seem to be enjoying the gardening! I put sliced tomato under the cheese when I do cheese on toast- good plan to add in the extra veg for the children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s genius – I shall definitely use that one πŸ™‚ All such hints and tips are gratefully received x


  3. I love that your daughter climbs in, that’s so sweet πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. calmkate says:

    Sounds like you are a very talented and patient parent … disguising the undesired food does help πŸ™‚


  5. suzannesmom says:

    Delicious-looking sandwiches! And your little daughter playing with dirt made me laugh.


  6. Vicki says:

    I used to grate lots of seasonal vegetables under the cheese when making a pizza for the Chinese children I used to care for (3 years as a live-in nanny to this particular family). They absolutely loved ‘pizza’.
    I love the way you continue to stimulate, inspire and give each of your children the opportunity to do things their way. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to allow children to be themselves and I admire you (and your partner?) very much.

    You have a wonderful garden too (but I’ve probably said that before now).


  7. That is awesome the kids doing gardening and watching things grow! Yummy sandwiches πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As always, a delightful post. Those cheese toasts look wicked good, as we would say in Maine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such contrasts in getting hands dirty. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love your ‘pizza’ idea – might try it on my husband!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such lovely spring shots and that β€œpizza” looks delish!



  12. Love your inventiveness with encouraging them to eat different veggies.. πŸ™‚ And your daughter made me smile…. A girl after my own heart at getting dirt under her fingernails… Lol…. I admire how your own patience is paying dividends with your Son… If we put ourselves in their shoes it must be very difficult for them..
    I know when I supported adults in Autism.. I had one gentleman who I would take shopping would have to stop and touch anything he saw that was different… And every so often he would make people jump as he let out a squeal…

    He was very amusing though, and I would wait for him to go to the disabled toilet in the store, he delighted in pulling the alarm cord every time we went… Till I used to warn the security guard in advance.. lol.. He would come out clapping his hands and jumping up and down laughing knowing he had pulled the alarm and it would make people come….

    You have an awesome little family Mrs TP…. Take care all of you my friend ❀ … ❀


  13. The pizzas look yummy!


  14. L Higgins says:

    Lovely writing and lovely family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚


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