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!