I started my allotment when my eldest daughter was about 18 months old; with blissful images of her tottering happily along behind me while I worked, and then off we would go to enjoy our home grown produce together.
Sadly, and perhaps predictably, it was not to be. Visions of my green fingered angel soon evaporated as she trampled over seedlings, fell on the courgettes and wailed at the spots of mud on her skirt. She was an early talker, which meant she told me very simply “NO I wont go to the allotment” early too. At least there was no confusion about the matter…
And with that, my bubble burst. I tried again and again to inspire her, explaining how much fun she could have if she just embraced the dirt. But she was not convinced and so I decided, that for now at least, I would tend to my garden alone.
3 years on and we do okay. Her initial reaction to allotment trips is always ‘ohhh… I don’t want to…’ but when we are there she loves it. She was recently thrilled to discover she can pick kale all by herself, filled a whole bag with it and even gave it a try that evening, before promptly spitting it out and exclaiming “but its ok mummy, at least I tried it…”
So I continue to do all I can to subtly inspire her love of the great outdoors and will carry on doing so over the coming years. I’m thinking fairy gardens, giant sunflowers and a flower bed dedicated to my girl (and inevitably the colour pink.) We won’t just focus on vegetables (my passion) but we will explore every part of nature; I am even open to creating a butterfly garden in her name, as long as the dreaded cabbage whites are nowhere to be seen.
Ultimately, for now, my little girl would rather play with glitter and princesses than mud and grass, and who can blame her? Mud doesn’t exactly get much positive advertisement, and rarely comes with sparkles in [activity idea!] So I have decided not to push the matter, in the hope that she will eventually grow out of pink plastic and will come to share my love of nature. In the mean time, my task is simply to make our garden as fun as it can possibly be; I will update the blog so you can see how we are getting on and I would love to hear your experiences too.
Are you in a similar situation with your children? If so do you have any techniques you use to get them interested in the garden?