We have a lot of plans for this year and a lot of those seem to involve growing things. For his birthday, I bought Husband a Grow Your Own Bonsai kit. The seeds are now hibernating in the fridge, imitating the wintery conditions they’d naturally endure before germinating in Spring. Since it’s going to be a long time before this venture turns into an actual tree, as a kind of late Christmas present (essentially it was something I saw on sale on New Year’s Day) I also bought Husband a fully grown Ficus Bonsai Tree, now called Treebert.
One of Pip’s Christmas presents was a kit from Plant Theatre for growing unusual vegetables – purple carrots, stripy tomatoes, that kind of thing. It has all of the bits you need to begin growing, although we’ll need bigger pots and more compost later. She was very excited by this, before the inevitable low of being told that we can’t actually sow the seeds until Spring starts in March. Three months feels like an enormous expanse of time to a five year old so she put them away in our craft cupboard and pretty much forgot about them, in favour of getting instant enjoyment from her LEGO and dolls.
I, however, did not forget. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of growing things to eat for a long while. My name has been down on the very long allotment waiting list for well over a year. But I’ve lately been having a little think. Although we don’t have a garden, there is space at the back of our building, right outside Pip’s bedroom window in fact, that I have been told we could use. It is just a paved area but on measuring it, I found that we could nicely fit one of those mini greenhouses there. As a happy coincidence, I saw one for sale in our local garden centre and bought it. It’s being stored away, still packed in it’s box, until our seedlings are ready to go outside, sometime in April or May probably.
I know it’s only January but I’m genuinely quite excited already about this project! Unfortunately, whenever I get excited about something, I tend to really invest myself in it. I’ve even been searching for other tasty things I could easily grow in a smallish container (any suggestions, do comment below!) and it turns out there are quite a lot.
Pip loves growing things, as we discovered from growing cress and letting her take responsibility for her own houseplant, so I think she’s really going to enjoy this project. It might even distract her from sudden fixation on owning some kind of pet. It’s also a very good learning opportunity – finding out what plants need to grow and observing their entire lifecycle. I also think it’s important for children to know where their food is coming from, rather than simply seeing it arrive on a dinner plate every day.
All in all, a very good family project!