Thursday, 4 June 2009

how does your garden grow...

Growing veg for me this year was to see if with the help of Carol Kleins book Grow Your Own Veg (Rhs) was a sustainable thing for us as a family to achieve. Last year I planted seeds far too late, had a load of runner beans but didn't know how to cook them properly and carrots no bigger than a thumb!
I have been reading up and collecting seeds since before Christmas and couldn't wait to get going with it. Our garden I always thought is small and didn't think I could get a good supply of veg plus keep chickens plus have a sitting out place and a washing place plus the area for making impromptu tents for the boys to play in, but once I had cleared away the rubbish (old mattress, cardboard boxes, chest of drawers!!etc) and moved the pond with the help of the boys and bribes of a TV day and cakes! there is a fair amount of garden. We are boxed in on all side by houses and don't have a back gate so a rough idea of a plan was easy. On the back wall are fruit bushes, a couple my Dad planted a few years ago and some I planted this year. There are also brambles which I cut back with many thorn pricks and swearing on my part, but I didn't want to get rid of them completely because they give a good supply of blackcurrants in summer.
I cleared and dug over an area in the middle and put in bamboo canes for peas, green beans and french beans. I edged the different bits with small fence things from the pound shop and used all sorts of things for planters, this is how it looked a few weeks ago, the tiny seedlings around the tepee are the peas......

This is how it is now, the peas have shot up with this warm weather, in front are onions, cabbages and broccoli. In the tray to the left (which was an old ratty cage) are spring onions and lettuce, we have helped ourselves to the lettuce over the past few days but the youngest informed me "we must stop taking them or there will be none left" don't think he has the concept that, that is the idea!

In this really old Colman's starch ships chest are onions and sweet peas, I think we threw some cress in there too, I have used loads of kids plastic toy boxes as planters, they work out cheaper and are a lot deeper than garden tubs, especially good for carrots I find, damn the pesky slugs or they would be in the ground. I used half a milk carton for growing seeds in as they are free (well apart for when you buy them with the milk in)

Early mornings and last thing at night before it goes dark are the best, I water the plants and get in/put out the laundry and Chris feeds the chickens/ puts them in for the night and has little talks with them, he is often in different attire and is garden wear is limited to PJ's, duvets or just wellies sometimes! Here is is chattering away, he didn't know I took this. I adore listening to the stuff they come out with and really wish I had written more down when they were smaller.

I'm trying to get them more interested in gardening and flowers and found a couple of great books, junior book of wildflowers and junior guide to trees, these have lovely illustrations and tell you where to find the different flowers, we take these out to the park with us and the magnifying glass and try to match up with the book. If we can't match up we pick some and bring them home to look at and put in the nature journals I'm trying to get them to do. Its kind of hit and miss though this homeschooling lark, sometimes I worry we don't do enough and other times we do loads in one day then nothing for a few days, they are learning all the time, I know this by the chats we have, sometimes they shock me with the things they have learnt, I think wow it's really great.
I also wondered what to do about Adam, he is old enough to start high school this September and he has got a place just in case he wants to go but I'm really not sure whether just to send him and see if he likes it as he's right and does well when he is stimulated mentally, he loves art and is really good at it and think school would be good, on the flip side I really don't want him mixing with the hideous kids that go there. Has anyone else home schooled and then sent there child to high school?
I know Cherie from swift clan is embarking on this next week so it will be interesting to see what happens.


Laura said...

Veggie patch is looking good! I am totally loving your chicken house btw! :-)

emma said...

Hope whatever you decide for your ds about high school works out ok.

Josh went to school for half a term but isn't going back on Monday due to being bullied and he is adamant that he isn't going ever again.

It's a shame how one or two have ruined it for him but am also glad to have him back home with me!!

Emma xx

Pippa said...

That veggies patch is looking very tasty! I hope you find the education solution that suits you best, it's a worry isn't it.

I too have days when I panic that we 'do enough' and then, like you said, on other days, we do lots, but then there could be large gaps in between. They always seem to keep learning though which is very reassuring!!