The unschooling diaries: week twenty-four
I have never had much luck with growing things, but it seems that with my green-fingered assistant by my side my fortunes are starting to change. In fact our little veg patch, which we planted together about six weeks ago, is almost growing too fast for its own good!
Before we actually started planting, we had lots of fun getting the ground prepared – pulling out the weeds and making sure the earth was well and truly turned over. Most mornings Arthur would be straight out there in his wellies and pyjamas, and we even discovered the thrills of making volcanoes after our trip to see them in Lanzarote.
It was almost a shame when our plants arrived, but Arthur helped me then too – watering in the seedlings and positioning his scarecrow to watch over the growing crops.
He was particularly interested in the potatoes – not just because they’re used to make chips, but also because he couldn’t quite believe that actual potatoes would turn into plants. He watched the planter for a while, hoping to see some evidence that this was true, but reluctantly accepted in the end that it might take a little bit longer than he was willing to wait…
As time went on, he was brilliant at reminding me to water the plants as they grew – though with all the rain we’ve had that hasn’t been such an issue!
In fact the rain might be one of the reasons why the garden has just exploded in the last couple of weeks! I’m actually thinking I might have to transfer some of the plants to pots, having paid very little heed to the recommended planting distances…
Arthur has loved watching his garden grow – especially because we came up with an alternative place for muddy play in the shape of an old planter. He’s dying to taste his peas, but only the lettuces and the spinach are really ready for harvesting. We checked on the carrots the other day, but I think they have a way to go yet too… And would definitely benefit from not being completely overshadowed by pumpkin leaves.
What we did find, though, when we were looking through the leaves, was a little cluster of caterpillars – the perfect subjects for our next metamorphosis project! After demolishing the lettuce we sacrificed to feed them, they are now resting in their cocoons. Once again I suspect I might be even more excited about the change to come than Arthur is, though he’s enjoyed reading about their life cycle – and revisiting The Very Hungry Caterpillar of course.
All in all this year’s garden is turning in to a wonderful learning space. I think I may try to keep it going right through Autumn and Winter so we can explore what grows in the changing seasons – the thought of home-grown food all year round is pretty enticing too, even if we might not enjoy quite such lushness as we’ve got right now.