I had some dreamy utopian idea that over the Easter holidays we would all go to the allotment (me and the boys) and do work and we'd get loads done and it would all be wonderful. Which in the end made me wonder how long it was since I'd taken them all there at the same time. How on earth I had I forgotten what it's like when all three want to do the same thing, with the same pair of secateurs/hoe/rake at the same time and what unbelievable drama ensues when one person's samosa is perceived to be bigger than everyone else's.
I saw an experienced allotmenteer at the shops the day before and he laughed and laughed when I said we'd all be going along together to plant potatoes. That should have given me a clue. But I was blissful in my ignorance, so we wellied up, grabbed our chitted spuds and headed out.
Somehow I'd ended up with loads of potatoes, partly because I'd bought a big bag from the local garden shop, and partly because I'd then also been tempted by some other varieties. In the end there were Nadines, Charlottes, Maris Pipers, Swifts and Pentland Javelins, all lovingly pre-sprouted in egg boxes on the boys' bedroom windowsill.
The children attended to the most important stuff first - getting the chairs out of the shed and eating the Wheat Crunchies. They reluctantly did a very small amount of weeding after various arguments about trugs, trowels and mud being shaken in faces. Honestly, there were so few weeds in the bottom of the trugs they needn't have bothered.
I took them one at a time to plant a few potatoes, which have taken up far too much room. Already I'm thinking I won't bother with them next year (the potatoes, not the children), they'll need to be good to convince me to grow them again. I think my main concern with them is all of the work, making sure they don't poke up above the soil and also all of the digging to get them up. But you never know, I might be converted. I'm sure we've planted them too close together, and in a quite higgeldy piggeldy fashion, but to be honest by the end of the morning I was just happy to have the things in the ground and not cluttering up the windowsill any more.
This was the view from my deckchair, once I'd evicted the littlest boy and found some spare Wheat Crunchies.
The shed belongs to the neatest plot on the site, I always like to stroll past on the way home, to see how it should be done.
And this is my plot. Not the untidiest plot on the site, which is good enough for me. I'm realistic - I don't have the time to make it into perfection, but so long as it's productive that's all I'm trying to achieve. (The two littler ones are behind the rose bush playing Harry Potter with the rake and the Dutch hoe).
The biggest boy sowed some radishes very painstakingly, with every seed neatly placed about four inches apart. I gently suggested he could put a few more in next time, so I think he sprinkled some extra in in the end - we shall see.
And then to restore entante cordiale I lit the pile of woody stems that were pruned from the blackcurrant bushes a while back. Nothing restores brother's faith in brother quite like burning stuff together.
Oh happy day. Behind the shed I found some rhubarb struggling through the grass. This kind of thing makes it all worthwhile. The first precious harvest of the year.
I made a crumble with it when we got home. We'll gloss over the fact that the pinger went off when I was outside for a moment and I forgot about it and burned the edges. The middle's still good, and sometimes that's as good as it gets.
Happy times - lovely post, made me giggle, alot ! But you know the boys will have happy memories of the day, especially the bonfire bit.ReplyDelete
Have a lovely weekend,
I'll be interested to hear what you make of the Swift potatoes. What's the ruling on fires on your site?ReplyDelete
I don't think there are any rules about fires Sue. I don't light them if there are other people about, but I quite often see other people with them too, so we're probably allowed. Most of our rules seem to pertain to weeds and trees of more than seven feet!Delete
We've just had a new set of rules drafted which include no strimming at the weekend - no mention of any other machinery though - and no fires until one hour before dusk. The irony is that we are alongside an industrial unit that has fire house high which belch out black smoke.Delete
Hmmm a hinderance or a help sometimes gardening with children takes longer than doing it yourself..........ReplyDelete
Potatoes do take up a lot of room you are right, but they can be easy.......my perfected method is to get husband to make a fat dibber about five inches in length and arm yourself with two sticks and some string. Tie string to one stick and stick in ground place other stick in ground at other end of patch you want to sow in and attach string not worrying too much it is totally straight. Use dibber to make holes in ground and get a child, or do yourself, to drop potatoes in the holes you have made. Cover potatoes over and water when they need it. Dig up when they are ready and enjoy the fruits of your labour........
Oh that's what the holidays are all about!ReplyDelete
Lovely post about what makes a family a family.
Rhubarb crumble is on my list for today. Potatoes are much easier if just planted with a trowel rather than the back breaking traditional method. I'm surprised Sue didn't point you in the right direction. It's worked for us for years with excellent results. That rhubarb looks good.ReplyDelete
I know you would make this comment so left it for you.Delete
Ah beautiful day spent with your boys.ReplyDelete
My kids were very enthusiastic when we first took on the allotment, not so anymore. To be fair, Daniel's done quite a bit of digging while he's been home from uni, but only after I pointed out that he's on holiday for five weeks and he'll be after some spends. Your rhubarb looks delicious, I'm hoping to be harvesting some very soon.ReplyDelete
A most enjoyable read and terrific photos. I think that it is worth growing some potatoes even if it's only first earlies.ReplyDelete
The rhubarb looks good, shame that the crumble wasn't quite so good. Flighty xx
This is so beautiful! I would literally have no idea how to do any of this with my daughter. I'm thinking about planting maybe some basil or oregano and maybe a flower or two but I'm convinced it won't work hahaha This gives me inspiration to get out there and try it! SO wonderful that your boys are doing all this with you!ReplyDelete
I was hoping that fighting over rakes, shovels etc might be outgrown at some point...I am currently digging a fish pond and building a stone path with the help of a four and a two-year-old. If we can get through a morning with no injuries it has been a good one :) The two year old naps in the afternoon, so that is when we do our serious "work". I am sure your boys will remember the fire, not the flinging of mud. Happy memories being made!ReplyDelete
I think your plot looks bleddy marvellous. I have had a taste of allotmenteering with boys. They rampaged through the allotment yesterday. Thank goodness we were the only ones there. The hard graft starts in earnest on Sunday. I am taking heaps of inspiration from yours. I have unearthed a few hidden gems - a Loganberry, strawberries etc.
I think the middle tastes all the sweeter when the edges are a bit, shall we say, crunchy.... ;o)ReplyDelete
Nothing like the school holiday, you're plots looking lovelyReplyDelete
Did you watch Monty last week. He says plop spud in hole, no need for all that earthing up, and planting them close together gets you those lovely little potatoes. It's what I shall try this year. Simples.ReplyDelete
Well, it's all looking great. I'm sorry you had to deal with such a bunch of grouches, though. Goodness, they're all the same, aren't they? I have the same kinds of visions but somehow they never seem to include drama, screaming, bleeding, crying (sometimes my own). Ah, motherhood. :)ReplyDelete
Your adventures with the boys always make me feel happy. And I'm always so impressed with your gardening! I can tell how much you love it. I bet at least one of the boys has his own garden someday. Maybe all three! Have a great weekend CJ! It looks like the weather is warming up around there a little.ReplyDelete
I am intrigued by the blue bottles on your neighbour's tree? your plot looks lovely !ReplyDelete
I was going to say much the same as Jessica (rusty duck) about the potato planting and what Monty said, they might be smaller, but that isn't necessarily a problem unless you are going in for a worlds largest spud contest of course! Hope that they do really well for you. At least you managed to get the boys together for a bit of fire work then! xxReplyDelete
Hey you!!! You have to share that recipe!!! I would love to try it! Isn't it just something how things go with kids! I tell ya...we have the most fun but then some days it is pure chaos and I am reminding them to watch their steps as to not squash everything! Ha! I hear you on the perfection thing...I have come to terms with my flowers being picked and some plants being overwatered and others being smashed by a ball. It is what it is and when all is said and done I want them to feel a part of tge space! I love the shots that you took of your outing! And what a wonderful thing you are instilling in your boys! Congrats on your first harvest and here is to many more!!! Have a great weekend! Nicole xoxoReplyDelete
"I think my main concern with them is all the work" ... I wasn't sure at first if that was the potatoes or the children ;)ReplyDelete
The only way my lot would have helped is if I'd paid them to, they were always a mercenary bunch!
I've smiled all the way through this post, little boys and sticks and fires - I'd momentarily forgotten what that was like! And there are lots of times I'd settle for it being good in the middle, and I don't just mean my food!ReplyDelete
Have a good weekend.
You did well to keep them all occupied during allotment time, CJ. Having gardened with children of various ages (mine, school club kids, estate kids, looked after kids), I can appreciate the supervision that went into your day! I know the feeling of getting stuff off the windowsills - I've been doing the same with plants growing on my balcony, it's so nice to see clear space! I hope the radishes work out for your eldest boy - does he actually like eating them? I've planted beans with very little kids as they can manage the seeds easily (I poked the holes!) - and your rhubarb looks such a glorious colour! Bet that crumble was tasty! xReplyDelete
Claire, I always smile when I read your posts! The boys might not have been all gung-ho about planting the potatoes, but they are soaking in the experience and I'm sure learning some things too! Even if you have to entice them with a burn pile! I'm sure the rhubarb crisp was lovely - it was the first of the season from your garden - that is always exciting.ReplyDelete
This made me chuckle a true reflection of real life! At least they left you some wheat crunchies and will be proud when the potatoes start growing and are harvested. We have decided not to grow potatoes this year and we have found that the product and benefit doesn't warrant the space. Sarah xReplyDelete
Superb post! I'm smiling away here like a happy idiot xxxReplyDelete
Some day I want to live in a home where I can grow things. In our yard the deer eat everything before we ever get a chance. LOL
And this post kind of sums up why I love your blog so much; your personality and wry sense of humour; your love for your family, even when they bicker; your passion for gardening and the glimpses of allotment life I love to look at vicariously; the way you share your life with us, good and bad. I'll take a portion of rhubarb crumble that's caught a little around the edges, mine always go a bit like that too. xxReplyDelete